Litchfield residents gathered for National Night Out on Aug. 6 in three locations.

National Night Out seeks to bring the community together, so that people familiarize themselves with their neighbors through an evening of food, fellowship and fun. The event also strives to make communities safer and more caring places to live.

Observed across the nation, National Night Out promotes police-community partnerships and awareness of emergency services. In Litchfield, people gathered at Central Park, Zion Lutheran Church and Prairie Park. Grove City and Dassel also had National Night Out events.

Stephanie Vanderbill of Litchfield and her family attend Zion Lutheran Church. She said the free supper served as part of National Night Out event was nice, meaning she didn’t have to cook, and she also enjoyed the music and seeing a lot of familiar faces.

“National Night Out is just an event to get everybody out,” Vanderbill said. “Lots of people that don’t go to this church that are drawn here. I think it’s good seeing community members, like the firefighters is here is good, and the car seat clinic — good community outreach.”

Meeker-McLeod-Sibley Public Health Services staff were present at Zion Lutheran Church during the event, checking the safety of car seats.

“We look for, like, recalls, we look for problems with the car seat, and how they’re used, and any safety issues they might have,” said Catherine Birr of Litchfield, a public health nurse for Meeker County Public Health. “Then we help the family make fixes so that when they leave, they’re leaving as safe as possible. And we know that most car seats are actually used incorrectly and that’s what causes injury and death in car accidents.”

The event has been happening for several years, and with the collaboration between Meeker County Sheriff’s Office with Robbie Brown, leader of Litchfield’s National Night Out, the event has been a success, Sheriff Brian Cruze said.

“Along with myself, we had deputies and Meeker County Sheriff Mounted Posse at these events,” Cruze said. “It is a great way for people to get to know us and for law enforcement to get to know their communities.”

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