National Night Out on the East Side

The 29th Annual National Night Out is about to begin!

East Siders will be celebrating their neighborhoods as well as fighting crime by hosting likely more than 100 community potlucks, barbecues, ice cream socials, picnics and fun-filled gatherings on Aug. 7.

This nationwide community celebration aims to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. 

Any municipality, law enforcement agency, crime prevention organization, community group or neighborhood that is interested in participating can join in the celebration for free.

NNO celebrations include outside lights and front porch vigils, as well as a variety of special citywide and neighborhood events like block parties, cookouts, parades, festivals, visits from local officials and law enforcement, safety fairs and youth events.

NNO 2011 involved over 37 million people in 15,325 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide, according to a NNO statement. And NNO 2012 is expected to be even larger.

The St. Paul Police Department - Eastern District estimated there were more than 100 events on the East Side alone last year.

"It's all about trust and partnership for us," said Police Cmdr. Jill McRae. "We just really can't do our job without the community's help and this is a way to help empower them and work with us."

NNO has neighbors throwing a party, which helps you get to know your community members, McRae explained. Residents keep and eye on one another and each other's houses when you know and recognize your neighbor.

For free registration material call 1-800-NITE OUT or visit the National Night Out website at

There are plenty of NNO events, both big and small, happening all over the East Side. Here is a list of some given to the Review by your local community councils:

District 1

Along with many smaller neighborhood and organization events, District 1 will be celebrating NNO at the Conway Recreation Center. This big event is the first of its kind for NNO in the district, said Betsy Leach, community council executive director. The event is a partnership between the community council, the rec center, Grace Lutheran Church, Faith Alliance Church and the Bradley House Apartments.

"It's going to be huge," Leach said. The rec center is expecting 300 or more people to join in the fun.

The celebration will be lots of fun, Leach said, and the organizations are throwing in a healthy twist to the festivities to boot.

-Conway Recreation Center, 2090 Conway St., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Featuring food, games for kids, the art mobile, cooking demonstrations, judo demonstrations, local businesses, a free phone giveaway for low-income folks and a raffle with great items like an eReader, gift certificates, books, movies and other goodies.

District 2

Many neighborhood block clubs are hosting their own NNO events, but these are a few big public parties the community council highlighted in District 2.

-Boys & Girls CLUB, 1620 Ames Ave., 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Featuring "everything imaginable," including food, games, hot rods, fire trucks, and police and army personnel and vehicles.

-Hazel Park Congregational UCC, 1831 Minnehaha Ave. E., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Featuring a dunk tank, music, games, cake walk, food and potluck.

-Phalen Corridor Business Association ice cream social at Rose Avenue and Clarence Street, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Featuring, obviously, tasty ice cream and some good neighborly conversation.

District 4

District 4 is celebrating NNO and encouraging neighbors to "Give Crime and Drugs a going away party." Here is a list of some of the Dayton's Bluff events:

Larger events:

- Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Margaret and Forest streets

- Mounds Park United Methodist Church, Earl and Euclid streets

- Swede Hollow Park, Margaret and Greenbrier streets

- St. Paul Federal Credit Union, 1330 Conway St.

- Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Johnson Parkway and Margaret Street

- Bates and Fourth Street Block Club

- Mounds Park near Mounds Boulevard and Earl Street

Smaller events:

- Maria Avenue and Euclid Street

- Parkway Gardens at Hudson Road and Johnson Parkway, 3 p.m. for residents

- 10XX Wilson Avenue Block Club

- Gotizan and Fourth Street

-1100 block of East Sixth Street

If you want to host a NNO event in District 4 or would like more information, call Karin at 651-772-2075.

District 5

There will be smaller events all over the Payne-Phalen neighborhood, but the community council pointed out four big community celebrations, all rain or shine.

-American Legion Post #577, 1129 Arcade St., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Featuring a potluck, root beer floats, snow cones, games, emergency vehicle units, entertainment, a school supply drive and informational booths. The legion will welcome any volunteers to help, especially with entertainment. All services and donations are tax deductible. Last year's celebration attracted over 350 people.

-Wilder Recreation Center, 958 Jessie St., 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Featuring kids games, food and music.

-Duluth and Case Recreation Center, 1020 Duluth St., 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Featuring food, a potluck and all-around neighborly celebration. Bring a dish to pass.

-Phalen Recreation Center, 1000 Wheelock Pkwy E., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Featuring a community potluck complete with grilling and fire truck.

Kaitlyn Egan can be reached at or 651-748-7816.

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