IMAGES: Springfield Neighborhood Night Out
The scent of roasting hotdogs and the shrieks of children permeated the air at McGregor School Park Friday evening. While around a hundred West Central neighborhood residents partied at McGregor, thousands across Springfield gathered at nine different locations for a night of family fun.
It was Springfield’s 17th annual Neighborhood Night Out, an event where neighbors come together to promote safety and prevent crime.
“It’s about getting to know your neighbors and making sure you know the person who lives next door or a couple of doors down. And because of that, knowing who your neighbors are, it helps to deter crime in the neighborhood because you suddenly know who is supposed to be in your neighborhood and who is not supposed to be,” said Will Carter, the director of communications of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks.
The Community Partnership of the Ozarks facilitates neighborhood events like the Neighborhood Night Out by providing help with funding and set up. Neighborhood Night Out festivities featured bouncy houses, free food, live music and informational booths. Local policemen and firefighters mingled freely in the crowd.
“I think it’s that one time each year where everybody goes hey, I can go out and meet my neighbors. This is the one designated night that we can all be friends and I can get to know people that I didn’t know before,” said Will Carter.
Each of the nine communities participating in Neighborhood Night Out brought their own unique flair. The Bissett Neighborhood event featured Springfield Cardinals’ mascots Louie and Fetch as well as Dot the Clown for a meet and greet.
According to Kevin L. Carter, who’s on the Bissett Neighborhood donations team, his neighborhood association uses this event as an opportunity to get the word out about their organization. With more members and funding, the Bissett Neighborhood Association can put on more events that benefit the area, said Kevin Carter. For him, this is the best way to give back to his community.