Following last year’s blueprint, the City of Oakdale hosted three park parties in celebration of the Tuesday, Aug. 4 National Night Out event with varying levels of success.
The parties, which offered free hot dogs, chips and a drink, were made possible by generous donations given by local businesses but while some parties, such as the one at Dorada Park were subdued, another, such as the party at Shire Park in Bridle Ridge was rocking and rolling — literally — as entertainment was top of the list.
Oakdale City firefighters were manning the grill at Dorada Park while the antique fire engine was parked at the Burchell Hill location and over at Shire Park, the residents were enjoying carriage rides from the Rolling H carriage company out of Denair.
Also at Dorada Park, Kevin Fox from Fox Photography donated all of his time and materials to provide free child ID safety cards to 35 children.
Heat Limo delivered McGruff and the Youth Account Mascot from Valley First Credit Union to each location, which certainly made the day for some children.
Two sites, although not part of the official NNO circuit organized by the City, River Oak and Willow Glen and a small park in the Vineyards, held neighborhood parties.
The standout location was certainly Shire Park as residents went all out, going so far as to bring in a local band, augmenting the hot dog fare with a side of beans and a brownie for dessert, and also bringing in a petting zoo of sorts.
Tom’s Exotic Reptiles out of Riverbank, owned by Tom Campbell, brought in snakes, alligators, and all sorts of creepy crawlies that kept the adults and the children interested.
“We got a lot of great support so that we could make this a completely free event,” Brea DeRespini, Community Volunteer Coordinator, said. “We received a large donation from Con Agra of canned food as well as donations from Black Oak Casino.”
The donations made it possible to offer $500 worth of raffle prizes at each location.
Each site had 500 hot dogs and Frito Lay supplied the chips.
“The National Night Out committee has been working hard since October to get everything donated and they did a fabulous job,” DeRespini said. “The NNO committee raised over $3,000 to support the event.”
Linda Nelson, part of the NNO committee and spokesperson for the Shire Park location said of the importance of the event, “All of your neighbors stay connected. It gets your neighbors out there to mingle…and it gets the word out that you’re not going to allow crime in your neighborhood.”
In addition to the many activities at Shire Park, a motivational speaking group entertained the crowd. Team Endure, based out of Modesto, talked about the power of choice with an underlying message of hope no matter your circumstances.