National Night Out draws hundreds to park

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published August 14, 2013

 Children run out of the smoke house at Harper Woods National Night Out Against Crime last week.

Children run out of the smoke house at Harper Woods National Night Out Against Crime last week.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

HARPER WOODS — Every year, families head to Johnston Park for one of the biggest events in the city. 

Target and the Harper Woods Public Safety Department teamed up once again for the National Night Out Against Crime Aug. 6.

“It’s a great event, nice large community turnout thanks to the Harper Woods police and Target” Mayor Ken Poynter said.

When asked if he attends each year, he said, “I don’t think I’ve missed one yet.”

This was the 30th year that Target has hosted the event at locations across the country and the seventh time for Harper Woods Public Safety. 

The city’s firefighters came out with the smoke house, Medstar ambulance came out, and so did the city’s new police K-9, Grosse Pointe’s police K-9 and other groups.

There were bounce houses, free food provided by Target, ice cream, and music by the Sun Messengers through a donation by Christian Financial.

Poynter said it was nice to see the popular music group out to entertain the crowd.

Some parents took part in activities with their children, such as going through the smoke house to see what it’s like to try to escape a house fire.

One of those parents, Carie Miller, came out with her husband and three children.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been here,” she said of the event. “I think it’s nice that the community comes together.”

Miller’s three girls said they were having fun.

“Daddy, we’re going to do it again, with you,” one of the girls said of the smoke house.

Officer Sandra Hernden, who was responsible for planning the event, was pleased with the outcome.

“It’s a good turnout,” she said. “It gets bigger every year, it seems.”

She said they had 1,200 hot dogs along with chips and pop, and she said they would go through every last one since the event attracts hundreds of residents.

Public Safety Director James Burke also was pleased with the turnout.

“This is fantastic,” he said, adding that it started out as a small event the first year. “This is the biggest turnout we’ve had ever. Every year it grows and grows.”

He said Target makes a very generous donation to the event.

Burke acknowledged all the groups and city departments that worked to make it happen.

“It takes a big effort to put this on,” Burke said. “It’s a great community event.”