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on August 04, 2015 at 9:59 PM, updated August 05, 2015 at 2:32 PM
FLEMINGTON — Free food, entertainment and sultry summer breezes lured hundreds of residents to Deer Path Park to participate in National Night Out festivities Tuesday night.
Sponsored by the Hunterdon County Sheriff's and Prosecutor's offices, the event, which promotes community vigilance against crime, featured free food and entertainment, kids' face painting and activities, and a chance for residents to bond with county and local law enforcement officials and first responders.
"This is just a boatload of fun," said Maria Dulmer, the Sheriff's Department officer who organized the event. "This is our fifth year and I still love it."
First-time attendees agreed. "We're having a lot of fun," said Jeremy Kiefer of Hampton.
Kiefer, son Grayson and daughters Addisyn and Summer were inspecting a souped-up 1991 Corvette owned by Rick Phelps of Kinnelon. The car was among several classic vehicles that showed for the event, which also included a 1942 Jeep, outfitted with an M1 Garand rifle, .30-caliber Browning machine gun, and a little local history.
According to owner John Dwyer of Clinton, the Jeep, used by a U.S. Army reconnaissance team in the European Theater of Operation during World War II, once belonged to the 102nd Cavalry, which had a unit stationed in Hunterdon County.
Up for inspection also was a rehab tent manned by members of Clinton's First Aid & Rescue Squad. The tent, purchased for the squad by the county, is typically set up at fire scenes, and is used to cool off firefighters in the summer, and to keep them warm in winter, said squad president Joe Olivo. On this night, it was available for anyone who needed respite from air temperatures hovering in the high 80s.
It was the tent's first time at the event. Other first-timers included Maddalena's Cheesecake of Ringoes, Bivona Farm of Kingwood Township, Hunterdon Homesteaders 4-H, Barkley's Gourmet Marketplace of Flemington, and Westling's Martial Arts Academy of Flemington.
Not all attendees were fazed by the evening's events.
Mortimor, one of six Madagascar hissing cockroaches — all named Mortimor and all owned by Lauren Bivona of Bivona Farm — seemed downright oblivious as he lounged in an open palm. "He's pretty laid back. If he wasn't, he'd be hissing," Bivona said.
Besides Mortimor, Bivona brought to the event a collection of farm animals that proved to be big hits with the crowd, including an 8-month-old pygmy goat and miniature steer.
National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) will involve more than 15,325 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world. In all, more than 37.1 million people are expected to participate in "America's Night Out Against Crime." The event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime efforts; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
This article was updated to provide a list of groups and businesses appearing for the first time at National Night Out.
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