Last night, August 6th, marked the first time Goochland County has participated in the National Night Out in quite some time. Years ago it was a community event that saw some turnout by local residents who came together for an evening of food, friendship, and more! Sadly though, over the years, the community interest in the event waned and fizzled out. Since then the sheriff’s department has not moved to revitalize the family-friendly tradition.
Last year the Commonwealth’s Attorney attempted to host the event in Centerville. Unfortunately, the sheriff’s department scheduled an Open House at the courthouse the very same evening, thus diminishing the National Night Out by reducing and dividing numbers in attendance at an event meant to build bridges within community relations.
Several area businesses showed up to attend as vendors including Capital One and some County programs like 4-H, as well as Goochland County schools and one church, Salem Baptist, whose youth group were very talented in making all sorts of balloon animals for the kids in attendance. The Goochland County Lions Club served food and provided good cheer with the American Legion post 215 assisting people with serving and fun.
Though the event, hosted by the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office, was scheduled on very short notice to some, which left vendors and table attendants scrambling in order to prepare something for the event, there was a bounce house to enjoy, a disc jockey, ice pops, and even a donkey to pet! How cute is this guy?
Some table attendants set aside their own vacation plans and upcoming events, in order to help accommodate the sheriff’s department in hosting the quickly-decided National Night Out.
Insurance companies, a couple of youth organizations, and a financial services business livened the event with a prize wheel, pencils, games, keychains, and raffles.
Arriving within thirty minutes of the event beginning it was heavily noted that attendance was lower than expected, and the number of attendees continued to decline throughout the event leaving many unmanned tables and bored vendors.
Despite the low turnout, a number of organizations came together quickly to help support the idea that the sheriff’s department needs to be more connected with the residents living within Goochland County. That sort of community connectedness, mindful awareness, and active participation are crucial, and they remain elements that one can hope see come to a greater fruition in the future.