PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney police brought emergency personnel together for the Annual National Night Out event to demonstrate to children that police, firemen, and similar organizations are their friends.
The event, always held on the first Tuesday of August, is held nationally to bring out families and form a bond with local authorities and emergency services.
“The purpose is to bring kids out and get them familiar with law enforcement, all emergency personnel, so they realize we’re your friends... don’t be afraid of us, we’re here to help you,” Chief Clerk Jan Bosak said.
This is Bosak’s and Chief Matt Conrad’s third year to organize the celebration. Previous chiefs have staged the celebration before them. More departments and agencies have been added each year to the celebration.
About 48 organizations participated in this year’s event, including all three of the Punxsutawney fire departments, Perry Township fire department, Pennsylvania State Police, Game Commission, Sheriff’s Department, Life Flight, and many other organizations to offer fun and educational activities for the night.
South Jefferson Street was blocked off for touch-a-truck, which stretched down the length of Barclay Square with different emergency vehicles. Included were fire trucks, a Humvee, a school bus, and many police cars. There was also an obstacle course for children to run, and several blow up slides and activities as well.
“People call me and they have such spectacular ideas,” Bosak said.
All the food at the event is by Emma’s Catering and Giuseppe’s Dogs on the Run. All the money from food sales and the dunking booth is donated to the police department for Shop with a Cop, another event the Punxsutawney Police Department stages in December, taking children shopping for coats and boots.
“It’s definitely very heartwarming, I really enjoy it. It’s all for the kids,” Bosak said.