Retro Night Out on a Pandemic Year Night In

Fair Haven’s National Night Out 2020 turned into Night In. And it was a night in to be remembered — for nothing except the pandemic that showed no mercy and canceled another community event.

Safety first, those it’s all about say. They are, after all, first responders.

They are police, fire fighters, first aid — at Fair Haven’s usual Night Out anyway. And it’s a well-known and celebrated annual night, the first Tuesday in August, when towns across the nation host National Night Out.

It started in 1984 to bring awareness of primarily police programs to communities. It was also seen as a way to enhance residents’ relationship with police with a fun night of interaction, games, food, festivities, some services (like kid IDs) and even some swag — a sort of show-and-tell of the job, the equipment, the cars, the sirens, the action and the notion that emergency responders are people, too. It offers a little insight and perspective for the community into the police world and vice versa.

The night began with neighbors just making a concerted effort that one night a year to promote awareness by just sitting in front of their homes, or on porches, with front lights on. Everyone was out. Night Out. That first Night Out was organized by a neighborhood. Some still are organized by neighborhood watch organizations and the like. Others, most, are organized by the police department in the town.

The first National Night Out encompassed roughly 2.5 million residents in 400 towns in 23 states. That grew to include every state nationwide and an estimated 38 million residents in 16,000 communities. While all states participate, not all communities do. Rumson does not usually have a Night Out, but Fair Haven does.

Fair Haven’s Night Out always includes close-up looks at fire and first-aid equipment, including trucks in addition to law enforcement mingling, a Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office K-9 demonstration and even an emergency helicopter landing and take-off. But, of all the games, demonstrations, bouncy houses, swag and close-up looks at fire trucks, first aid vehicles and police cars, a favorite feature of the night is pretty consistently the dunk tank.

Police officers, firemen, teachers, borough officials and other local celebrities volunteer to get a good dunking — and we’re not talking donuts and coffee. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

There have been some classic moments at the ol’ tank. One year, in particular, involved a classic mayoral dunking of Ben Lucarelli. Others involved some classic moments captured of officers under water, on their way down and soaked. All rose to the occasion, planked it and rose to the top to lots of laughs.

So, in the spirit of Night Out on this year’s Night In, take a look back at some classic Fair Haven Night Out moments over the past several recent years.

Which do you think is the most prized dunkin’ photo? Kid pic? Officer?

Don’t forget to click on each photo to enlarge!

Photos/Elaine Van Develde & Borough of Fair Haven

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management