Neighbors come together for fun and information during National Night Out in Kalamazoo

Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Kalamazoo series.

Pamphlets, fliers, business cards, and lots of information about community projects, city services, educational opportunities, job opportunities, civic affairs, and human services was available Tuesday in Kalamazoo’s core neighborhoods.

So were food, drink, games, drawings, mid-summer sunshine, and camaraderie. All of that is the intent of National Night Out, an annual, community-building event held in communities across the United States, including Kalamazoo.
 
The event has been described as “a great opportunity for our community to get out, and meet and greet one another in order to collaborate and see who your neighbors are.” So says Vernon Coakley, chief of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

Relationship-building between organizations, area residents and the city – particularly the police -- is a key.
 
Emergency vehicles and officers from his department were evident at each of the gatherings along with members of the city commission, city officials and political candidates.
 
“National Night Out is just a great event,” says KDPS Deputy Chief David Boysen. “It gives us the opportunity to get to know each other, have a meal together and we really look forward to that every year.”

Ice cream makes everything better at the Naitonal Night Out celebration in the Vine Neighborhood. Photo by Fran Dwight.Enjoying the festivities in the Vine Neighborhood as part of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.Youngsters on their bikes were among those enjoying the festivities as part of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.Mayor David Anderson, who stopped in at more than one National Night Out celebration, with Vine Neighborhood Association President Steve Walsh. Photo by Fran Dwight.Taking a ride at the Davis Street Park. Photo by Fran Dwight.There was information from Hope Through Navigation at the Vine Neighborhood Celebration of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.The KDPS fire trucks drew little ones the Vine Neighborhood celebration of National Night Out. Photo by Fran DwightHaving fun at the Vine Neighborhood celebration of National Night Out. Photo by Fran DwightA skater is out in the Vine Neighborhood as part of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.There were dogs that turned out for the celebration of the Edison Neighborhood Celebration of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.Art work in the Vine Neighborhood welcomed those celebrationing National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.At the Edison Neighborhood Celebration of National Night Out 2022 Milestone Senior Services were there to explain their resources. Photo by Fran Dwight.A smile for the celebration of the Edison Neighborhood Celebration of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.The Kalamazoo Nature Center turned out with reptiles at At the Edison Neighborhood Celebration of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.Pat Davis from SHARE at At the Edison Neighborhood Celebration of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.CARES tells visitors about its services at At the Edison Neighborhood Celebration of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.Greg Secor, a percussionist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, plays steel drums at Edison Neighborhood's 2022 National Night Out. Photo by Fran DwightDevin Macharia, left, and Isaac Green, of The Open Roads Bike program, were among representatives of many community organizations to offer information at the Edison Neighborhood’s 2022 National Night Out. Photo by Al Jones
Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services at At the Edison Neighborhood Celebration of National Night Out 2022. Photo by Fran Dwight.Games were a highlight of National Night Out in Kalamazoo’s Eastside Neighborhood at Rockwell Park. Photo by Al JonesGames were a highlight of National Night Out in Kalamazoo’s Eastside Neighborhood at Rockwell Park. Photo by Al JonesA Kalamazoo Public Safety officer mingles with Eastside residents during the Kalamazoo Eastside Neighborhood Association’s 2022 National Night Out. Photo by Al JonesTwo youngsters play a gumball race game during National Night Out in Kalamazoo’s Eastside Neighborhood. It was at Rockwell Park on Trimble Avenue. Photo by Al JonesLots of people received lots of information from human service, health, city, and educational organizations at the Northside Neighborhood’s 2022 National Night Out.Lots of people received lots of information from human service, health, city, and educational organizations at the Northside Neighborhood’s 2022 National Night Out. Photo by Al JonesKalamazoo Public Safety Sgt. Kelly Pittelkow (with Lt. Robert Holdwick) lets children pet  their K-9 partner Norman. Photo by Al Jones

Read more articles by Al Jones.

Al Jones is a freelance writer who has worked for many years as a reporter, editor, and columnist. He is the Project Editor for On the Ground Kalamazoo.