Farmville, Prince Edward residents show up for National Night Out

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Everything from The Beatles to Van Morrison played on the speakers. Kids ran around The Fairgrounds, showing off balloon animals and facepaint to their parents. Police officers talked with residents, answering questions and just having conversations. Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the new version of National Night Out in Farmville.

“It’s not nearly as hot as it usually is,” said Danielle Markus. The 28-year-old was there with her two kids. “I just think everybody can enjoy it more this way. Nobody wants to run around outside when it’s 98 degrees.” 

This new setup was the brainchild of Farmville Police Chief Andy Ellington and Prince Edward County Sheriff Tony Epps. Instead of holding it on the first Tuesday in August, as National Night Out usually is, the men came up with an idea to push it back and get people out of the heat. 

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“This will, hopefully, allow more citizens to attend the event and fellowship with the officers and personnel from both departments,” both departments said in a joint statement. “As for the change to the Fairgrounds, this allows all the vehicles, booths, and food vendors to all be on one level area and is big enough to house both Town of Farmville and Prince Edward County residents for this joint event.” 

That definitely was the case Tuesday, as families just enjoyed some time together. 

“It’s great to have something like this, where we can bring the family and just have a good time,” said Daniel Marley. The 39-year-old was there with his wife and nine-year-old son. “I appreciate everybody who put this together.”

“It’s nice to see the community having fun,” his wife Amie agreed. “There’s so much negative stuff out there. It’s good to see something positive happening.”

A bit about National Night Out

Bringing everyone together goes back to the original concept for National Night Out , which was started back in 1984. The goal, both here locally and in other celebrations across the country, is to build communities and develop relationships between law enforcement and the residents they serve.

The way that happens has changed quite a bit since the first National Night Out in Merion, Pennsylvania. On that first Tuesday in August 1984, local residents simply turned on their porch lights and sat in front of their homes as a symbol of community.

Over time, those front porch vigils turned into festivals, cookouts and block parties, like the one held Tuesday in Farmville.

Editor’s note: Connor Thompson contributed to this report.