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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Olney will join forces with thousands of communities nationwide on Aug. 1 to celebrate National Night Out, a crime prevention event sponsored nationally by the National Association of Town Watch and locally by the Olney Chamber of Commerce.
The family-friendly event will be held 5-8 p.m. at the Fair Hill shopping center at Olney-Sandy Spring Road (Route 108) and Spartan Road.
This marks the 24th year of Olney’s National Night Out celebration, which highlights the partnership among police, fire personnel and other first responders, businesses and the community.
The event began on a much smaller scale at Longwood Recreation Center in 1993. The Olney Chamber of Commerce took the lead in 1996 and it has continued to grow into one of the Olney’s most anticipated annual events.
“The chamber is committed to this event because it is an opportunity for us to demonstrate to police, firefighters and Park Police the appreciation we have for their service to the community,” Olney Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jon Hulsizer said. “It’s also an opportunity to bring the community together, up close and personal to those organizations, as well as a vehicle for providing financial support to the organizations.”
This year’s event is co-chaired by chamber members Valle Bonhag and Mark Malakoff.
“National Night Out is an important community event, promoting fire safety, crime prevention, and drug awareness,” Bonhag said. “We have a fantastic turnout each year, largely in part to our wonderful event sponsors, contributing restaurants and a host of raffle donors, and typically draw a crowd of over 700 attendees.
“We truly have the best communities and businesses serving the greater Olney area, where safety, cohesion, inclusion and small business support is important, and we anticipate another successful fundraiser for our local police, Park Police, and fire and rescue organizations.”
The event will kick off with the arrival of a motorcade at 5 p.m., expected to include state, county and local officials.
It will feature entertainment, exhibits, face painting, crafts, demonstrations, raffles and more.
New this year will be the Montgomery County Police Department’s Community Engagement Division trailer, offering an interactive experience for residents to learn more about their local police force, safety and awareness programs and upcoming local events.
The community may support the fundraiser by purchasing dinner from local businesses.
Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Olney Police Satellite Station, Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department and the Maryland-National Capital Park Police.
Other first responder agencies, including the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, also take part in the event.
There will also be business exhibits highlighting products and services and raffles, including wine, gift cards, apparel and classes.
Over 16,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world will celebrate National Night Out. In all, over 38 million people are expected to participate.
For more information, visit the Olney Chamber of Chamber website at www.olneymd.org or call 301-774-7117.
The Olney Greene Turtle, 18101 Town Center Drive, will hold a fundraising event for National Night Out all day July 27, donating 20 percent of the total check (dine in or carryout) when guests provide a “Funds for Friends” voucher available on the Olney Chamber of Commerce website (www.olneymd.org).
The Greater Olney News reaches more than 20,000 homes and businesses through the U.S. Postal Service and hundreds more are dropped at businesses and popular gathering spots.
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