On Tuesday, Aug. 6, communities all over Minnesota celebrated National Night Out -- a night to meet your neighbors, strengthen community ties and meet police and other local officials.
Minneapolis celebrated at Nine Flags riverfront park from 5 to 9 p.m. The city ranked first in the country for its participation for the last two years in a row.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau expected around 3,000 people to attend. The event featured live local music, K-9 and SWAT demonstrations and chances to connect with public safety officials.
The Shepard Park Rental Neighborhood in St. Paul hosted one of the largest celebrations in the state between 4 to 7 p.m.
"I wish every night was National Night Out," said Armando Camacho, president of Neighborhood House.
Last year, 1,500 people came to the block party at Gilbert De La O Fields to enjoy grilling and conversation with neighbors while getting to know police.
"I think there's no question that when neighbors know each other and they've broken bread together -- or had a glass of Kool-Aid or a beer, in some neighborhoods -- that all of a sudden, you talk to each other and look out for each other," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said.
The west side of St. Paul, known as the Ellis Island of the city, is especially embraced by Coleman and St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith because both of them live there.
"Some people wanted to talk to me about some different concerns they have regarding domestic violence," Smith told FOX 9. "I have all those resources. I can hand out my business cards and put people in the right direction."
In east St. Paul, a group of about 500 gathered at the Boys and Girls Club to get to know police.
"It's a good thing. It's comforting," said LaToya Shavers. "It's nice to get to know them so they can recognize my face, the kids' faces, in case anything happens."
For moms like Shavers, the event serves double duty because her children get to meet and play with their peers while she gets to know police.
Events in St. Paul included a 50-animal petting zoo, photo booth, food, music, bingo, henna tattoos, caricature artists, a classic car show and demonstrations by public safety units.
FREE GUN LOCKS AT OTHER EVENTS
Communities all over the state celebrated National Night out by offering free gun locks at the following venues:
Plymouth Police & Fire Night to Unite Open House
14800 34th Ave. N.
Women's Club of Minneapolis
410 Oak Grove
Minneapolis National Night Out Gathering
West River Parkway between Federal Reserve Building & Mississippi River
Sanctuary CDC/Pillsbury United Communities
3700 Block between Emerson and Fremont
North Minneapolis, 5:30pm-8pm
Phillips West Neighborhood
17th Annual 27th Street Block Party between Columbus and Portland Avenues
South Minneapolis, 5:30pm-8pm
Night to Unite hosted by Edina Police at Rosland Park
4300 W. 66th Street
Little Earth of United Tribes
2495 18th Ave. S.