National Night Out comes to Oakhurst

Residents in the Mountain Area are invited to Oakhurst’s first-ever National Night Out next month, where a collection of public safety staff, delicious meals from nearby restaurants, and even mascots like Smokey Bear will be on hand for an evening focused on fun and building a stronger community.

From 5-8 p.m. Aug. 4, in the Old Mill Shopping Center in the former Blockbuster Video parking lot, at 40050 Highway 49, officers from the California Highway Patrol and Madera County Sheriff’s Office, as well as staff with Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, Sierra Ambulance, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will provide information while answering questions about their careers in protecting the public.

Kaci Lutz, public information officer with the CHP, said the entirety of the National Night Out event was to connect the community with the “heroes” of public safety.

“It’s really a celebration of public service, safety, and the community,” Lutz said. “We want to really expound on emergency services because it’s a small town, so it’s important everyone is aware of what we do. We want people to see who we are, and let them know we’re more than just what they see when they pull over for the flashing lights in their rearview mirror.”

All departments will bring their equipment to the event, Lutz said, which will allow the public to climb in and learn about fire engines, ambulances, even the sheriff’s SWAT van.

Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog will add fun to the night for children and adults, Lutz said, alongside food vendors including Supernaw’s Bar-B-Q, Me-N-Ed’s Pizza, and Round Table Pizza with plans for additional restaurants and booths.

Lutz said with a strong turnout, next year’s National Night Out may be held at a larger venue, but the parking lot in the shopping center was chosen for its high visibility and centralized location.

“I urge everybody to come out,” Lutz said. “We want to increase safety all around, so through awareness and education, we want to let people learn about everything we do whether it’s fighting a fire or assisting in an emergency. It means a lot to us, and everyone around here.”

Donations are sought to help purchase balloons, water to be provided to guests, and other additional resources.

Details: Kaci Lutz, (559) 658-6611, or JoAnn Evans, community service officer with the sheriff’s department, (559) 642-3201.