Holmes Beach looks to triple Night Out crowd

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Officer Josh Fleischer, left, and Sgt. Vern McGowin of the Holmes Beach Police Department are coordinating the second-annual Holmes Beach National Night Out, 4-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor

Free munchies and drinks, a bicycle giveaway, bounce house, water slides and a dunk tank are all part of the fun for the second-annual Holmes Beach National Night Out.

Best of all, it’s all free.

A surprisingly large crowd of some 500 people showed up for the first Holmes Beach National Night Out in August 2016.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Officer Josh Fleischer of the Holmes Beach Police Department.

This year’s event coordinators, Sgt. Vern McGowin and Fleischer, estimate attendance will swell to as much as 1,500 for the second Night Out.

“We did so well the first time, we’re doing another,” McGowin said.

The first time out in August was almost too hot for an outdoor event, and some kids may have been away for the summer. We opted for October to draw a bigger crowd and, hopefully, for better weather, McGowin said.

Bicycle safety demonstrations and emergency equipment exhibits from the West Manatee Fire Rescue district are included. Waste Pro is manning a grill with free hot dogs. And free raffles for bicycles and other prizes — no charge for tickets — will be offered 4-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the city field, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

Event MC JT Thomas and Nate Brown of the city code enforcement department are expected to keep the crowd going with fun and music.

Volunteers are needed and donations welcome to help with the growing event. Email watch@holmesbeach.org to offer assistance.

The event is designed to build lasting partnerships and camaraderie between neighbors, police, first responders and the entire community.

“It’s really aimed at the entire family,” said McGowin.

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