OAKHURST – The Oakhurst Office of the California Highway Patrol invites the community to be part of “National Night Out,” an annual event meant to bring together law enforcement officers, first responders, and the communities they serve in an informal setting.
The festivities will take place in the parking lot of the old Blockbuster store in the Old Mill Shopping Center on Highway 49 in Oakhurst from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
There will be CHP K9 and Motor Officers from Oakhurst, Mariposa and Fresno, plus SWAT Team members and a SWAT vehicle, and Cal Fire engines to check out up-close.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office will have their Command Center unit on site, along with their new wave runners used to patrol Bass Lake, and Search & Rescue units and personnel.
California State Parks will show off their 35 ft. patrol boat, California Fish and Wildlife will have bearskins on display, and CHP will have the Sidne (Simulated Impaired Driving Experience) car on hand.
Sierra Ambulance will also have a unit at the event for the public to check out. Other participants include Yosemite National Park, the U.S. Forest Service, the American Red Cross, the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, Visit Yosemite Madera County, and VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters).
Guests can also visit with their elected officials and check out merchandise from local vendors, while enjoying live country music, and food from local eateries including Supernaws, Round Table Pizza and Cool Bean.
Of special interest to kids of all ages will be the appearance of Sparky the Fire Dog, Smokey Bear, and McGruff the Crime Dog.
“This is all about creating awareness and understanding in the community,” says Kaci Lutz, CHP Public Information Officer and event organizer. “It’s a chance for everyone to stop in and become familiar with all the emergency services in our area, take a look at all the equipment, ask questions, have some food, and get to know the officers, firefighters and EMS personnel.”
Typically these events are done in conjunction with Neighborhood Watch, like block parties, but this is being adapted to fit the mountain communities.
There will plenty of booths set up where people can learn more about each agency and the men and women who serve as our first responders, and have any questions answered. Specifically from her agency, those questions could range from car seats to general rules of the road, says Lutz.
Oakhurst CHP Commander Lt. Jason Daughrity has made it a priority to engage with the public at every opportunity, and has plans for more and varied events in the future. The hope is to expand on National Night Out each year, says Officer Lutz.
“If the community and local businesses show an interest and want to be part of this, we hope to have something more like a farmer’s market environment,” says Lutz. “It’s all about businesses and public service. Next year, we might be able to hold it in a larger venue and maybe do something like add a bounce house. We’ll focus on the public service aspect and build it from there.”
National Night Out is a cohesive effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
Make an evening of it as the mountain area celebrates our Emergency Services and our community, and get to know those who respond when emergency calls.
Anyone wishing to donate to the event or wanting more information is invited to call Officer Kaci Lutz at 559-658-6611, or visit https://natw.org/