Ashland — It was a hot Night Out, to be sure.
But, at least those who showed up for it had a way to keep cool.
The Ashland Police Department on Tuesday hosted the city’s annual observance of National Night Out.
The event — celebrated in hundreds of communities as “America’s night out against crime” — was held for the first time this year at Dawson Pool. The APD moved it there from Central Park in the hope of boosting lackluster attendance.
And, it seemed to work.
APD DARE Officer Terry Clark, one of the chief organizers of the event, said there were substantially more people there — young ones, especially — than had turned out for the past several year’s observances.
“The kids are having fun,” he said. “The heat doesn’t seem to be bothering them.”
Clark said the thermometer on his cruiser showed the outdoor temperature as being 108 degrees shortly before the start of the event.
“I wasn’t hot until I saw that!” he joked.
The sweltering heat and humidity didn’t seem to slow the youngsters down in the least as they swam, played on the inflatable rides and feasted on hot dogs, chips and soft drinks.
“It’s fun,” said 9-year-old Sissy Mitchell, a fourth-grader at Hatcher Elementary. “I’m having a great time.”
Sissy came to the pool with a large group of kids that included her sister, Kiki, 8, and her cousins Breanna Clark, 10, Jonathan Lemaster, 9, Victoria Lemaster, 13, and Cierra Childress, 13. All said they were enjoying the festivities.
Tina Ratliff of Ashland said she brought her sons Peyton, 7, and Brandon, 9, to the pool to provide them — and her — with some relief from the heat. Finding out when got there that everything was free was a nice bonus, she said.
Amy Darby, office manager for the Ashland Boyd County Catlettsburg Office of Emergency Management, found an innovative way to beat the heat. She donned a “cool vest,” which she said was part of one of EMA’s hazardous materials protective suits. The garment had pockets on the inside that held ice packs.
Darby said she brought the vest for her 12-year-old son, Taylor, to use while he was wearing the EMA’s “Wally Wise Guy” turtle costume. But, she said she saw no harm in slipping it on herself while Taylor was taking a swim break.
In addition to observing National Night Out, Tuesday’s event served as a birthday party for another cartoon mascot, McGruff the Crime Dog, who turns 23 this year. The APD served cake and ice cream in McGruff’s honor, and the famous crime-fighting canine himself put in an appearance.
National Night Out, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, a non-profit crime prevention organization, is in its 23rd year. The program is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in anti-crime programs and strengthen partnerships between the police and the general public.
Ashland — It was a hot Night Out, to be sure.
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