HBPD puts on National Night Out, gives out 100 bikes

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Jack Weldon, 4, and brother John, 2, visiting Anna Maria Island from Virginia, beam at the new police cars they received from Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Manning. Manning assisted Oct. 3 at Holmes Beach National Night Out at city field.
The kids make the liveliest participants in the hula-hoop contest at the HBPD National Night Out, where winners took home bikes, helmets and other prizes donated by local businesses.
Jayden Sparks, 9, a student at Anna Maria Elementary, won the first bike given away Oct. 3 by the Holmes Beach Police Department. Sgt. Vern McGowin helps Jayden at the second annual National Night Out in Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor
Sarah Graham, 8, a student at Stewart Elementary School in Bradenton, picks out her prize bike Oct. 3 as Sgt. Vern McGowin assists and sister Mary Grace, and mother Trish Graham look on at the Holmes Beach National Night Out at city field. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor
Denise Johnson, wife of Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson, battles the breezes with Chris Putnam of the Holmes Beach Police Department while readying balloons Oct. 3 for Holmes Beach National Night Out. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor
Danita Raulerson holds 9-month-old Rose Fisher Oct. 3 at Holmes Beach Police Department National Night Out at city field. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor
Davanee West, 7, a student at Anna Maria Elementary, holds still Oct. 3 as artist Ginny Savidge a volunteer for Holmes Beach Ace Hardware, applies face paint at the Holmes Beach National Night Out at city field. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor
Privateers Shelly “Fireball” Hill, Kim “Guy Kim” Peltier, Missy “Lil Bit” Miller and Cindy “Bubbles” Swager staff a booth featuring the Rat Toss Oct. 3 at National Night Out in Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell
At the dunk tank at National Night Out, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer smiles as Waylon Moore hurls at the dunking target. After the ball hit, the chief reappeared, soggy but unscathed. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell
At the dunk tank at National Night Out, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer smiles as Waylon Moore hurls at the dunking target. After the ball hit, the chief reappeared, soggy but unscathed. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell
Angela Monetti, 7, impressed party emcee, JT Thomas, left, city treasurer Lori Hill, Officer Josh Fleischer and the crowd with her “mad skills” at the Oct. 3 Night Out. She “hooped it up” through the entire song “Thriller” by Michael Jackson — and she won a bike! Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

More than 1,000 people attended the second annual Holmes Beach National Night Out.

There were fun games, water slides, food — more than 1,000 hot dogs served — and prizes Oct. 3 at the Holmes Beach Police Department event.

“We just want to get the kids out from behind the computers to have some fun,” said Police Chief Bill Tokajer, a popular target in the dunk tank.

Within minutes of taking his seat, the smiling chief had been dropped in the drink four times.

A spritz of rain early on followed by sunshine encouraged a good crowd.

HBPD Sgt. Vern McGowin and Officer Josh Fleischer coordinated the event. McGowin was impressed by the surge of support nearly 100 bicycles and assorted prizes were donated for giveaways.

“This community is awesome,” McGowin said. “This event is all about building the community.”

Some 500 people showed up for the first Night Out in August 2016 but the day was a scorcher and the event was moved this year to October.

National Night Out is a community-police awareness-raising event held the first Tuesday of August in most states. Texas and Florida have the option to use the alternate date of the first Tuesday in October to avoid hot weather.

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