Our new baby turned two weeks old yesterday. With three kids under three in our house, events like tonight’s sixth annual National Night Out at Citizens Park in Barrington are beginning to take on new meaning.  Barrington police have played a big part in the planning and it’s designed to be a fun way to learn things that can save the lives of the people we love.

If you’ve ever worried about things like bike and train safety, stranger danger, your kids and drugs, how to keep them safe behind the wheel or as the passengers of other teen drivers, National Night Out will help bring you a little peace of mind. Whether your kids are little like ours or in the midst of their teens, they’ll definitely walk away from this party armed with new skills to help keep them out of danger.

The party starts at 5:30 and lasts until 8:30 tonight and Citizens Park should be packed. The Gerald McClendon Band will take the stage right at 5:30 and will provide a festive musical backdrop for a long list of games and interactive safety demonstrations planned for the event.

There are some new highlights this year, including a driving course designed to show teenagers how texting while driving becomes deadly in seconds.  They’re setting up an “intexticated” driving course where teens can get behind the wheel of a golf cart and try to navigate the course while a police officer is sending them text messages.  Barrington police Sergeant Kevin Croke says driving while “intexticated” is a growing danger on our roads.  “What’s so big about this is you really have to not only take your eyes off the road, but you’re taking your mind of the road.  The inexperienced driver, plus distractions like texting, are a deadly combination.”  There will also be a course for young drivers to navigate wearing goggles which emulate different levels of intoxication.

In addition to the driving demonstrations, The KlaasKids Foundation will be there to provide Digital Fingerprinting, ID Kits and information about the latest safety tools to stop crimes against children.  The Lake County MEG (Metropolitan Enforcement Group) will be there to talk to kids one-on-one about the dangers of drugs and educate parents about watching for signs of drug use.  At 6:45, Wauconda Police Sgt. Combs will show how he fights crime with the help of his canine partner, Maxx the Dog.  To learn more about this dynamic duo, read the post I wrote before last year’s National Night Out called “See Police Duo ‘Combs and Maxx’ in action” which you’ll find by clicking HERE.

National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness and get the community involved in local anti-crime efforts.  But you can also expect a great lineup of fun and games, like Face Painting, a Moonwalk Bounce House and the very popular Watermelon Eating Contest, back by popular demand.

The winner of this year’s Watermelon Eating Contest will receive a candy bouquet that is being donated by the Sweet Spot in Barrington along with some pretty big bragging rights. This giant grin on the face of last year’s winner says it all!

Also new this year is a Bags Tournament which will be hosted tonight by Barrington High School’s Wrestling Team. The whole team will be on hand in support of community safety and in the hopes of raising money the team needs for equipment this year.

National Night Out is a national program held each year on the first Tuesday of August and sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.  Since 1984, the program has grown to involve over 34-million people from more than 10,000 communities.  Barrington Police and Fire officials take part in the event each year to meet and build closer relationships with Barrington families.   They stepped up their advertising this year and they’re expecting up to 1,200 people to show up tonight. You’ll find Citizens Park at 511 Lake Zurich Road in Barrington, Illinois and we’re all welcome!

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