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COMMUNITIES CELEBRATE NATIONAL NIGHT OUT

As temperatures soared past the triple digits Tuesday evening, police officers, firefighters and community members fanned out across Solano County to celebrate National Night Out.

From potlucks to carnivals to simple meet-and-greets, each gathering accomplished the same goal — neighbors getting outside and forming partnerships with each other and local law enforcement.

Don’t forget about the fun, reminded youth at the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.

Games abounded in the parking lot, with areas for a ring toss, basket toss, watermelon-eating contest and bean bag toss.

There also were free popcorn and chicken nachos, as well as a gigantic water slide.

Vacaville firefighters descended on the Club in full gear, challenging youth to a rousing game of basketball.

Both sides were surprisingly good and, judging by all the howls of glee, both enjoyed the camaraderie.

Vacaville fire Chief Kris Concepcion tried a few hands at the ring toss before calling it quits and switching to basketball tosses.

“These events are awesome,” he said. “It’s a longstanding tradition.”

Following a few more throws, he added another thought.

“Nights like this, they get everybody out,” he said, indicating his firefighters romping around the court with local youth, police officers parking across the street, parents looking out for everyone’s children. “Everyone gets to know each other.”

Junior Arteaga, 15, agreed.

A longtime Club kid, he helped set up and had a little fun, too.

“It’s good,” he said, of all the activities. “I like that the kids are enjoying this. Seeing the smiles on their faces. It’s all for them.”

The event was important, he continued, because it gets everyone together. Not just Club kids, he said, but the whole community.

That, in a nutshell, is National Night Out. The annual event has participants leaving their lights on and staying outside to start or strengthen community relationships. Knowledge, as they say, is safety.

By Kimberly K. Fu, kfu@thereporter.com@ReporterKimFu on Twitter