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Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Tonight is National Night Out

Looking for an excuse to get the neighbors together? Tonight marks the 28th annual National Night Out, an event promoted by the National Association of Town Watch. National Night Out is about getting neighbors together around safe, family-friendly activities like block parties and cookouts.

These are meant to promote neighborhood spirit, and participation from local police and sheriff’s offices helps by strengthening community-police ties and sending a message to potential criminals that a neighborhood is being policed by its residents.

You can read about ideas for celebrating this event here.

Here’s what’s planned around our area to mark National Night Out:

Caroline County – Cookouts with free food and kids’ activities will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bowling Green Town Hall, Heritage Clubhouse in Lake Land’Or, Lake Caroline Clubhouse, and at the Ladysmith Village Residents Club. Portsia Smith has the details here.

Fredericksburg – Seven different neighborhoods will host evening cookouts, which the Fredericksburg Police will be visiting Target has contributed to the event by donating prizes for giveaways. Natatia Bledsoe has more details here.

Spotsylvania – The county Sheriff’s Office will be at the Target parking lot at Cosner’s Corner from 6 to 8:30 p.m. There will be K-9 demonstrations, emergency-response team members and their vehicle, face painting, a barrel train, prizes and free food.

Stafford – The Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad, will be at the TArget parking lot in Stafford Marketplace between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. The event will include more than 50 vendors, community organizations and businesses.

King George – The event at the King George YMCA will feature a K-9 demonstration, moon bounce, dunk tank, obstacle course, AirCare helicopter, Virginia State Police motorcycles, game warden and conservation police, and more. Hours are 5 to 8 p.m.

Culpeper – Residents in Culpeper neighborhoods will lock their doors between 6 and 8 p.m. to spend two hours outside with neighbors and law enforcement officials. County officials are encouraging neighborhoods to participate, and many have signed up to host cookouts and other events.

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