Minnesotans in cities and towns across the state are getting together on this beautiful Tuesday evening for National Night Out (NNO) - an annual event that lets law enforcement and citizens mingle at barbecues and block parties to promote better relations.
Minneapolis, St. Paul, Brainerd, Duluth, the Fargo-Moorhead area, Shakopee and many other cities are hosting hundreds of neighborhood events; you can find a list here of all the events registered with National Night Out (some communities – including Shakopee – refer to NNO as “Night to Unite”).
Minneapolis alone has nearly 1,500 neighborhood events scheduled, and Police Chief Janeé Harteau was planning to make an appearance at dozens of them.
Here are some scenes from this year's gatherings:
National Night Out is a tradition that began in 1984, when the National Association of Town Watch – which describes itself as “the nation’s premiere nonprofit crime prevention organization” – launched the first National Night Out.
The goal was to get neighbors out of their homes and talking with one another as a way to build community, and since then, it has transformed from a simple meet-and-greet to block parties, parades, festivals and more.
The organization says the festivities now involve over 38 million people in tens of thousands of communities in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canada, and military bases across the world.
According to the official website, NNO “enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community” in the hopes of making neighborhoods safer.