For a Better Commute. For a Better Stafford County.

Stafford Expects Biggest ‘Night Out’ Yet

Eileen Hutchinson, 5, wearing a cow hat, visits a clown at the National Night Out celebration at Stafford Marketplace in 2010. (File)

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — An annual National Night Out celebration in North Stafford will be the biggest yet.

Starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, 69 businesses and organizations – including fire departments, the county’s sheriff’s office, retailers, and volunteers organizations like the Stafford County SPCA, will set up booths and tables at Stafford Marketplace on Va. 610.

They’ll not only welcome area residents for music, demonstrations, and games, they’ll also welcome Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Decker.

Community participation in this year’s event will be much larger than last year’s.

“Each year we have grown by a few extra, but this year we exploded! In 2011, we were at 43 participants and this year, as noted, 69!” stated organizer Nick Zumwalt in an email.

This is the largest National Night Out Celebration in Stafford County, but several other smaller celebrations were held in neighborhoods throughout the county and are encouraged by Sheriff Charles Jett.

No large celebrations are planned for residents in Prince William County, but the celebration does not go unnoticed as the county’s police department has asked residents to turn on their porch lights, lock their doors, and spend the evening outside among neighbors.

Dumfries will celebrate National Night Out a day late, and encouraged children to participate in a poster contest. The posters will be judged Wednesday at the town’s community center.

Stafford celebration’s history

Event organizer Patricia Copeland said her Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad began participating in the “night out” celebration in 2002. It was held at Stafford Marketplace for the first time in 2006.

“Last year we had over a 1,000 people join us. I am hoping for an awesome turnout this year,” said Copeland.

Copeland said Stafford’s “night out” event has won an award every year since 2008.

National Night Out was first celebrated nationwide in 1984 as a way to build communities and raise awareness about drug and crime prevention.


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