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Galax, Independence plan 'National Night Out'

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By Staff Reports

National Night Out, celebrated across America — and even on some U.S. military bases on foreign soil — is coming to Galax again on Aug. 5.

“National Night Out started by bringing law enforcement and the community together against crime,” said Galax Police Capt. James Cox. “It gets the public out and lets them know who their public safety officials are. It’s a meet and greet.”

Ultimately, this strengthening of friendship and trust is intended to help deter criminal activity. Galax has participated for about 10 years. Though Galax was first in the area to do so, the Town of Independence has joined in for the last couple of years, Cox said.

In terms of participation in years past, Cox said, “The National Night Out organization actually ranks events around the country and we consistently are high on the state and national level.”

According to Galax School Resource Officer Vickie Taylor, who is coordinating the festivities this year, the celebration will take place from 6-9 p.m. in downtown Galax. Included will be bouncy houses, free pony rides, free mechanical bull rides and free goodies handed out to kids.

In addition, there will be a squad car and the Bearcat (armored vehicle) set up for people to examine and become familiar with. Everything is free, including the hot dogs, chips, drinks and cookies that the police department will be there to hand out to everyone.

Taylor says the department served about 2,000 hot dogs last year.

“That’s probably what we’re shooting for this year,” she said, adding that the police department will also hand out watermelon.

“We can’t forget the watermelon,” joked Taylor. “The watermelon’s awesome!”

She continued on a serious note, “It’s about getting the community together, communication and just having a good time.”

The Town of Independence will hold its National Night Out event on Aug. 5 from 6-8 p.m. in the Grayson County High School parking lot.

“We are going to have bouncy houses and food and candy for the kids. Everything is free,” said Independence Police Chief James Wagoner.