July 31, 2008
Communities Gather for Night Out Events
By Cathy Locke, The Sacramento Bee, Calif.
Jul. 31--An annual event designed to bring neighborhoods to- gether to fight crime also will allow residents to get better acquainted with local history and community services, all amid a party atmosphere.
Though crime-fighting is the focus of the nationwide campaign sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, the summertime festivities reflect the character of their communities.
In Camino, off Highway 50 east of Placerville, the Camino Community Action Committee will hold its fifth annual National Night Out in the Camino Community Church Park at 4205 Carson Road.
The event, scheduled from 6 to 8:30 p.m., will feature a bounce house, face painting, a classic car show, and visits from firefighters, sheriff's deputies and El Dorado County's Search and Rescue team. Barbecues will be available, and those attending will be treated to free hot dogs.
A special attraction this year will be a display of photos from the El Dorado County Historical Museum depicting Camino's history as a logging town, as well as an exhibit by Sierra Pacific Industries, which operates the local sawmill.
Camino author R.S. Polkinghorn also will be on hand to discuss his book on logging railroads.
The emphasis on local history is important, particularly to people new to the area, said Betty Linville, a spokeswoman for the Camino Community Action Committee.
A drawing for prizes donated by local wineries, restaurants and other businesses also will be held.
"All the money goes back into the community," Linville said, noting that a check will be presented during National Night Out to Camino School for its garden project.
Down the hill in Placerville, National Night Out has become a major social event. Participation in the program has earned the city either first- or second-place honors nationwide among communities with populations under 15,000 for the past four years.
This year, 38 groups, representing 74 blocks, or 30 percent of the city's population, will hold events, said Cynthia Estes, community services officer, with the Placerville Police Department.
"As usual, we have exciting new things happening, including a barbecue and pool party at the Placerville Aquatics Center," Estes said.
El Dorado County Animal Services, at 511 Placerville Drive, will hold an adopt-an-animal event from 5 to 8 p.m. A bike rodeo, face painting and other children's activities also will be offered at the El Dorado County Main Library from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
In Folsom, National Night Out focuses on neighborhood activities, with city officials, police and firefighters making the rounds of block parties.
Sharon Roloff, crime prevention specialist with the Folsom Police Department, said representatives of the city's water management program may participate this year, providing tips on water conservation. City residents have been asked to reduce water use by 10 percent.
In Rancho Cordova, the Lincoln Village Neighborhood Association will hold its fourth annual National Night Out celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. on Draco Drive at Lincoln Village Drive.
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