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Picnics, pumpkin patches and patrol cars: Brazos Valley invites public to National Night Out | Local News

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This year’s National Night Out event is set for Tuesday, when Brazos Valley residents will gather for block parties to meet their neighbors and visit with local law enforcement.

The block parties will occur throughout the country and get started in the late afternoon. The events typically feature barbecues, music and games, with police and firefighters joining in. National Night Out is part of an effort to encourage fellowship with first responders and give people a chance to speak with first responders about concerns in their neighborhoods.

“All residents are encouraged to step outside on this evening, meet their neighbors and visit with local law enforcement officers, who will be stopping at registered neighborhood block parties throughout the evening upon request,” states a release from the Bryan Police Department.

The same can be said for most Brazos Valley police and fire departments. Dozens of block parties will be hosted in both Bryan and College Station on Tuesday, with most of these events typically starting at approximately 5 p.m. and lasting several hours. While some gatherings will be modest in small pockets of neighborhoods, others cater to a wider expanse of the public. In Bryan, for example, several parties will be hosted at local parks and more public areas, including Heritage Park, Camelot Park and the Village Cafe in Downtown Bryan. One large party being hosted in College Station is that of Covenant Presbyterian Church on Rock Prairie Road.

Joanne Sands of the church’s outreach committee said the church expects as many as 500 visitors to the block party this year, and everyone who wants to attend is welcome to stop by between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. In partnership with the Edelweiss Home Owners Association, the church will have bounce houses and a children’s train ride that will take kids through the church pumpkin patch.

Along with visiting with police officers and firefighters, guests can paint a pumpkin and enjoy live music from a bluegrass band. Free hot dogs and refreshments will be provided, although Sands said the church invites families to pack a picnic, too.

“We want to be involved in the neighborhood and for everyone to know they are welcome, and we are here to serve them,” Sands said.

Brazos County residents who want to enjoy National Night Out without traveling into the twin cities can visit one of five county neighborhood parties, said Deputy Nathan Dennis of the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office. A large county block party will be the Wixon Valley block party from 6 p.m. till 8:30 p.m., which will take place outside the Wixon Valley town hall on Texas 21.

“It’s a great family event,” said Wixon Valley mayor Jim Soefje in a video advertisement shared on social media. “Come on out and enjoy some free food, bounce houses, fire trucks, patrol cars — come meet your first responders and your elected officials.”

For Texas A&M students, it’s easier than ever to participate in National Night Out. In years past, officers and firefighters stationed themselves at just one location on campus. On Tuesday, students can partake in any of three parties at Hullabaloo Hall, Mod Quad and the White Creek residential area. There will be food, games and prizes at all three locations, and parties will last from 6 p.m. till 8 p.m.

To learn more about National Night Out, visit natw.org.

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