National Night Out 2023 Draws Big Crowd Tuesday

By Jeremy Coumbes on August 2, 2023 at 3:30pm

An Air Evac helicopter lands in Community Park Tuesday night for during National Night Out.

Nearly twenty different area organizations came together along with law enforcement and first responders last night in Community Park for National Night Out.

The nationwide event happens the first Tuesday of August each year and is aimed at community building through police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie in an effort to make neighborhoods safer.

Representatives from the Jacksonville, South Jacksonville, Murrayville-Woodson, Chapin, and Beardstown Police Departments along with the Jacksonville and South Jacksonville Fire Departments, LifeStar EMS, and West Central Joint Dispatch mingled with community members throughout the evening.

Morgan, Scott, Cass County Crime Stoppers Coordinator Loren Hamilton said following the event, that Tuesday’s event was quite possibly one for the record books. “I almost think this might be our best-attended National Night Out so far. We had a few more vendors than we’ve had in years past. The weather was perfect, and the presentations were good so we couldn’t be happier.”

Spectators gather for the prize drawing at National Night Out in Community Park Tuesday.

Vendor booths lined the east side of Community Park near South Main Street while the Rotary Club of Jacksonville gave free rides on the Community Park Ferris Wheel.

Among those who attended were the Girls and Boy Scouts, the Early Years Program,

Stars for suicide prevention and Morgan County Coroner Marcy Patterson, Springfield FBI, the Jacksonville Citizen’s Police Academy, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, The Crisis Center, and the Prairie Land Heritage Museum.

Several presentations were also made over the course of the evening, which Hamilton says were all very appreciated. “We had the Jacksonville Drumline Institute, Detective Poore from the Jacksonville Police Department did a drone demonstration, Morgan County Deputy Jerrod Degroot did a self-defense presentation for the kids, and then, of course, we had the Air Evac helicopter land.”

Corporate vendors also were in attendance with representatives from Ameren Illinois handing out information and the Home Depot Kids Workshop.

The Jacksonville Fire Department’s smoke house was also available for kids to go through. The Jacksonville Salvation Army Canteen provided free snacks and The Grotto Bus was there selling concessions.

Special thanks were given to DJ Eddie Baldwin who provided entertainment and emcee work throughout the evening.