Eldersburg embraces community message for National Night Out

Annual event in Eldersburg slated for Aug. 2

July 29, 2011|By Katie V. Jones

What started as one page of events and participants three years ago is now 14 pages and growing, say organizers of Eldersburg's National Night Out, schedule for Aug. 2 at Carrolltown Center.

And while that means a lot more work and budgeting, the members of Freedom Area Citizens' Council couldn't be more excited.

"We thought about it and decided it would be a good thing to do," said Ellen Dix, president of FACC, of the decision to hold the first National Night Out three years ago.

"There was a time we only did political issues," she said, "but our motto is to educate and advocate, and this falls under that. It highlights crime and educates crime awareness. It brings the community together."

Always held on the first Tuesday in August since it began 28 years ago, National Night Out was celebrated by 35 million people in the United States last year, Dix said. Created as a means to strengthen public relations with local law enforcement, FACC conducts Carroll County's participation in the family-oriented event in partnership with the county Sheriff's Department.

"We have actively participated in National Night Out throughout Carroll County for the last decade," said Maj. Phil Kasten, of the Sheriff's Department. "It is an opportunity to honor our commitment to public safety and our partnership in keeping Carroll County safe by working with residents in those communities."

This year, the Sheriff's Department will participate not only in Eldersburg's Night Out, but also in New Windsor's and Union Bridge's celebrations. The department's Mobile Command Center will make an appearance in Eldersburg, and there will be a K-9 demonstration.

"We always enjoy the opportunity to meet residents in a less formal setting," Kasten said. "It is important for the public to understand what resources are available to them and the services law enforcement provides to keep communities safe."

The free event will feature a variety of activities for both young and old, including face painting, temporary tattoos, nail painting and a variety of children's games. There will be an antique car show as well as food available from Rita's and Coddlestone.

Sykesville's Fire Department will also have several vehicles present for people to explore.

"All the doors will be open, and we will put on demonstrations," said Capt. Brian Ludwig, of the vehicles his station will bring. "They can climb all over them. We can't give rides, but they can get as close as they can right there."

Every person attending the event, no matter what their age, will receive a free raffle ticket for a variety of prizes from gift certificates to theater tickets, Dix said.

"The businesses here are so supportive, it is amazing," Dix said. "We depend on businesses and sponsorships to help us get through it."

Besides donating raffle items, support from the business community helps FACC handle all the hidden costs an event like National Night Out brings, including renting portable potties, printing programs and advertising.

"Everything has costs involved," Dix said. "We're always looking for members."

Family memberships to FACC cost $15. Business memberships cost $20. The group meets monthly to discuss various issues and concerns in the community.

"We hold forums every two years for the election. We adopt families at Christmas," Dix explained of FACC's programs. "We also get calls from residents having problems with zoning to water to a neighbor's trash."

Right now, however, is "crunch time" for National Night Out.

"It is this way every year," Dix said. "You're always afraid you missed something or forgotten something."

"It's a very enjoyable event," said Ludwig, adding with a chuckle, "as long as it's not too hot out."

National Night Out will be held Aug. 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the back parking lot of Carrollton Center, Liberty Road and Ridge Road, Eldersburg.

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