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Westpark hosts Night Out

There will be fun and games in Westpark Tuesday night, but a serious message behind it all, too.

The Westpark Community Center sports field will host the 8th annual National Night Out from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Westpark will join 10,000 communities nationwide in taking part in the event in which more than 34 million people are expected to participate, said Val Fulmer, youth activities program coordinator for the Bremerton Housing Authority (BHA).

“Every year, it’s celebrated across the nation. It’s a block watch party for high-crime neighborhoods,” said Abby Crisp, resident initiatives manager for BHA. “A lot of community organizations come and show their support. It’s so people in the community know we care and want them to be safer.”

Food and entertainment will be free, and gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Last year’s event welcomed 600 people and organizers expect that many or more this time around.

Kids will get a chance to bounce around big blow-up toys and all ages will have the opportunity to take a shot a a four-sided climbing wall.

Music will be provided by Peter Stoyanovich Trio from the Bremerton Symphony. Other activities will include watermelon and pie-eating contests.

About 40 community partners will be present at the event, Fulmer said, “providing resources to the public and residents and a wealth of information at all the booths.”

An opening ceremony will be held featuring a color guard from the Army National Guard. Prominent speakers will include Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman, Police Chief Rob Forbes and Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent. Forbes will lead residents in a flashlight parade to close the festivities.

“We are in partnership with the Bremerton Police Department and we are working closely with the police department in establishing a relationship with residents” through programs like the Citizens Academy, Fulmer said. “Officer (Floyd) May has been a big part of establishing that relationship and building trust.”

Fulmer feels the National Night Out is a good way to get residents involved in tackling problems in the community.

“It’s heightening awareness about (the issues),” Fulmer said. “It’s a way for people to get together, interact and talk about stopping crime.”

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