National Night Out: The start of an annual tradition

The Police Department and A Healthy Lynnfield came together in early August to host the town’s first National Night Out event. The event was organized by AHL Substance Use Prevention Coordinator Margaret Sallade, AHL Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator Diana DeLeo, and Police Capt. Christopher DeCarlo.

“It is a great way to partner with the police on a community-building activity,” Sallade said. “A Healthy Lynnfield is about supporting opportunities for young people and families in the community, and so this is a great example of that.”

Lynnfield’s event was one of many National Night Out events, which are held throughout the country on the first Tuesday of August each year. DeCarlo said that National Night Out events are organized by police departments and communities to raise awareness about community programs concerning topics like drug prevention and mental health. Communities often host events with parades, block parties, and programs like seminars and exhibitions as part of the campaign.

While the National Night Out campaign was established in 1984, Tuesday was the first time the town’s community came together to take part in it.

Lynnfield’s National Night Out began with a friendly basketball game between the Police Department and teachers at Lynnfield Middle School. The latter team also had members from the Lynnfield Youth Basketball program. The  game was followed by a cookout and a movie night featuring “Back to the Future.”

Sallade was satisfied with the night’s turnout, considering it was the inaugural event. She said she hopes that even more people attend the town’s future National Night Out events.

“It’s the first time we’ve tried it, so, like any first new thing, we expect it will grow over time,” Sallade said. “But it’s nice to see so many families and kids here tonight.” 

Lynnfield’s National Night Out 2023 was organized with the help of the Police Department, AHL, and sponsors from the community. The food was donated by Bianco & Sons and Kayem. The event also featured Cool Cow Ice Cream, which was sponsored by Hixon & Bevilacqua Realty.

“We can’t run these events without support from the business community and our benefactors,” Sallade said. “We really appreciate the food vendors and the folks that contributed to make this happen.”

At the event, Police Chief Nick Secatore described how pleased he was that the community came together to support the efforts of the department and AHL. He extended his gratitude to Sallade, DeLeo, and DeCarlo for planning the event, and to all the families that provided food and hospitality.

DeCarlo was optimistic about hosting similar events in the future.

“We’ve held community exercise events, a few civilian and Police Academy events in the past few months, which were a buildup to the National Night Out,” DeCarlo said. “We had a good response for the inaugural event and we will definitely hold one next year too.”