National Night Out 2023
Contributing Writers: Ava and Mia Vaccarella
Photo credits: Ava and Mia Vacarella, Laura O'Connor
National Night Out is an annual effort to build community between law enforcement and locals in order to foster a sense of unity between the neighbors of Rutherford. From 6-8 pm on Tuesday, August 1, residents gathered at Lincoln Park to celebrate a safer and more connected community.
To strengthen ties between small businesses and local organizations of the town with their inhabitants, tables were set up throughout Lincoln Park, accompanied by food, music, and performances. The Rutherford Fire and Police Department bordered the streets as well. The Rutherford Irish American Association, Kip Center, Civil Rights Commission, and Rutherford Chamber of Commerce—to name a few—all had representatives of their respective developments in attendance. As rumored, there were a number of free items provided from varying tables; some offerings included candies, Irish flags, stickers, keychains, and more. The Chamber of Commerce specifically handed out a number of free items that were among the highest in popularity, including stuffed horses and t-shirts in order to promote a local horse race going on this weekend in the Meadowlands. Similarly, a real horse by the name of “Misty” was present in the park to circulate even more attendees for said race.
There was no shortage of entertainment for children either, as a mini train that allowed for riders to be driven in circles around the perimeter of the park, several bouncy houses, and a rockwall were some of the attractions featured across from Borough Hall. A photobooth was also located in the gazebo while hotdogs, popcorn, and snow cones were additional complimentary offerings found within the park.
A major part of the night was the DJ and background music. A wide range of genres, such as 90s grunge hits, 2000s pop remixes, and classic rock could be heard playing from Lincoln Park’s stage throughout the night; some of these songs included “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC and “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne. Additional live music was even provided by a local band by the name of Rutherford Rocks, which consists of Rutherford High School’s own students, who range from being incoming freshmen to seniors. Also seen towards the stage were the students and sensei of Park Avenue’s karate studio, The Dojo; here, they displayed their expertise in the martial art through their use of kicks and punches to break wooden boards.
As seen, Rutherford’s efforts to put together an annual celebration was a complete success, as they featured a variety of activities, food options, and even opportunities to socialize or network with one another for all. Not only have Rutherford’s efforts been effective in this realm, but the town’s Lincoln Park event perfectly encapsulates the sheer purpose of the establishment of National Night Out—demonstrating that a closer sense of togetherness can promote trust and unity within town, leading its residents to engage in creating a safer, more secure community.