For more than thirty years, the communities of Long Beach and Calvert Beach have held a National Night Out. Their event is one of the largest in the county drawing between 300 to 400 people each year. Jeff Green, president of the Long Beach Community Association, said the event happens “because of many, many great volunteers and the kindness of community businesses and organizations.”
Held at the Long Beach Community Center, the chair is Carla Hance, who puts in many, many hours working with her committee to pull the event together. This year Carla wasn’t there because of a pre-scheduled family event. Her stand-in was Judy Devlin, a long-time member of the community. Judy said that she loves the event and was honored to stand-in and assist Carla. “Its hard work, but when you see the community come together for the evening and the kids are so excited, it is worth it.”
The entrance held a huge chalk welcome done by Amber Hance, who also provided face painting in the center. The dunk tank already had a line, and looked like one of the “coolest” spots on the very warm evening. There was a ball toss for the children. Large bubbles floated through the air, with as many adults playing as children.
The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office set up a utility truck from the SWAT division where Cpl. Philip Foote was providing tours of the vehicle. Maryland State Police Trooper Alvin Keller was “promoting all our first responders.” The St. Leonard Volunteer Fire Department arrived in style with sirens and lights. They provided tours of a tanker truck and ambulance.
There was plenty of Domino’s pizza, hot dogs and water available. Julia Roush, the “bead queen”, handed out Mardi gras beads. Patty Gay and Debbie Berens, residents said “it is fun to see your neighbors. We have a great community and this event gets us all together.” Berens is a member of the Neighborhood Watch. She was glad to see the first responders that were set up saying “it gives the children an opportunity to meet them and see what they do.”
Flag Ponds Nature Park was represented by Laura Jones. She had a small sand box where children could hunt for shark teeth and fossils. She gave information to the guests on one of Calvert County’s beaches. In 2007, CNN named Flag Ponds Nature Park one of the “best shelling beaches in the United States.” For a small fee, guests can visit their ranger station and view shark teeth and fossils, take a hike through the pristine forests, or walk to the beach. Along the quarter mile walk to the beach they can see a rebuilt fishing shanty. The beach provides access to the Chesapeake Bay and wonderful opportunities to find shark teeth and shells. To learn more about the park visit https://www.calvertparks.org/fpp.html.
In the Community Center were several county agencies and non-profits. The Calvert County Health Department offered a wealth of information on programs that benefit all ages. Jane Dodds, a staff member, had children “learning as they played,” provided brochures and answered questions asked by the community. For more information contact https://www.calverthealth.org/.
Throughout the year, the community center serves as a theater for New Direction Community Theater. Sherry Mervine shared upcoming productions. In October learn how love becomes stronger than any tragedy in “Crimes of the Heart,” a story of three sisters that survive crisis after crisis in a small Mississippi town. Late November through early December enjoy “Alice @ Wonderland.” A modern retelling of the classic children’s story, find what happens when a 21st century Alice collides with Lewis Carroll’s legendary Wonderland. Learn more about New Direction Community Theater on their website, www.Ndctheater.org.
Beth Beighley provided an opportunity to learn an art known as Zentagle. This easy technique is a relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns, known as tangles. Through combinations of dots, lines, simple curves, and circles, a person creates as they go, relaxing their mind and allowing the design to create itself.
Mike Dailey, Dan Daily and Jack Aiken represented Masonic Lodge 126, located in Prince Frederick. They have attended the event for many years and for the last three years – because “school is right around the corner”- have passed out school supplies. One of its many other programs is a ‘Child Chip Program.’ Masons believe in a strong involvement in the community. For more information on the organization visit http://www.pfmasons142.org/.
Music filled the air, with DJ Ted Allen, Hammerhead DJs, providing a wide range of tunes that appealed to all ages. Throughout the evening DJ Ted called out ticket numbers providing door prizes to both children and adults; music for a rousing game of musical chairs; and background for the hula hoop contest. For more information on Hammerhead DJs, call 443-532-0968.
Commissioner Steve Weems, a resident of St. Leonard, said “National Night Out is a great event that brings the whole community together, creating community spirit and fellowship.” Standing with Commissioner Weems was candidate for county commissioner, Earl “Buddy” Hance. Buddy said “people today are so very busy, and on this day, people can come together with their neighbors to enjoy the evening and each other.”
Jeff Green said he looks forward to National Night Out every year. He said “this is a community where neighbors know and look out for one another” and it was “a great opportunity for neighbors to visit each other and enjoy a summer evening.”
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon