Children play at National Night Out in Vernon Township Credits: Alley Shubert
Volunteers of the Vernon PAL pose with Mcgruff, the Crime Fighting Dog. Credits: Alley Shubert
Kids wait patiently as the helicopter lands. Credits: Alley Shubert
Vernon Mayor Victor Marotta poses in front of the helicopter during a live interview. Credits: Alley Shubert
Vernon Township Celebrates National Night Out
Thursday, August 9, 2012 • 11:30pm
VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ --- Vernon citizens came out to celebrate the township’s second annual "National Night Out" held at Maple Grange Park.
"National Night Out" occurs in towns across the United States, and takes place on the first Tuesday in August. It is an event where local police departments, and other organizations can come together and enjoy a night with the residents in their community.
“This is where we can gather as a community,” stated Vernon Mayor Victor Marotta as he addressed the public in an opening speech recorded for live television. “It is about making Vernon a nicer and safer place to live.”
A helicopter became visible in the air during the end of Marotta’s speech and was signified as a highlight at the event.
The Atlantic Air Ambulance helicopter made its way to the field at approximately 7:20pm. Children were excited, as grass from the helicopters fan fluttered around their heads in the wind. Families gathered around the bright yellow helicopter where people were allowed to sit inside and take photos.
The event was fun-filled with activities for children including a blow up slide, an inflatable basketball net, and McGruff, the Crime Fighting Dog.
Several organizations attended the event which included: The Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE), Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Intervention Services (DASI), The Vernon Coalition Parent Pledge Campaign, New Jersey Family Care, United States Fish & Widlife Service, The Family Support Organization of Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren Counties Morris/Sussex Office (FSO) and The Vernon Township Department of Fire Prevention.
A food item best described as a “walking taco”, which was chili, lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cheese inside of a Doritos bag, with the chips, was served to the attendees.
Town council members grilled hot dogs, and lemonade and water were served as beverages.
Jessie Paladini, President of the Vernon Historical Society and Vernon citizen attended the event.
“It is in support of anti drugs for the children and a great night for the community to come out,” said Paladini. “When you have a busy life, you don’t get to see people that much.”
The event was free to the public, and was supported by donations. The donations included: tents from the Vernon Historical Society, hot dogs and a other items from Sussex Meat Packing, 1,000 water bottles from Lowe's, and ice from local company Mac & Lindy’s.
Mary Bradley, chairperson for the Board of Recreation was one of many who attended the event.
“It is a fantastic event,” said Bradley. “It is our second year. The best table is the center for fire prevention. All of the little kids are really loving the game they are playing. It is an event that so many people help us out on, we even have people calling and asking if they could volunteer.”
“It’s a great night to be with your neighbors,” said Marotta.
In addition to all the free fun, children also received glow sticks, and the movie “We Bought A Zoo” was shown on a big screen out on the field.