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National Night Out brings large crowds … and torrential rain –

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

National Night Out began with sunshine, large crowds and a parade of public safety leaders and elected officials, and ended with people huddled under tents seeking shelter from heavy rain.

Olney’s 26th National Night Out celebration was held Aug. 6 at Fair Hill shopping center in the heart of the community.

The crime prevention event is sponsored nationally by the National Association of Town Watch, and locally by the Olney Chamber of Commerce. It is designed to generate neighborhood support and participation in crime prevention efforts and to enhance police and community relations.

Jon Hulsizer, executive director of the Olney Chamber, said a large crowd was already on site when the event began at 5 p.m. The crowd was steady until the weather began threatening at around 6:30 p.m.

“If it hadn’t been for the weather, I think we would have done really well,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a great evening until the weather went south. What we hoped was a passing shower turned into steady rain, then a downpour, then thunder and lightning.”

Hulsizer estimates the crowd was below the expected 2,000, perhaps by 25 percent. “The weather caused some to leave early and discouraged others from coming at all,” he said. “It’s too bad, because we were off to a good start.”

Before the rain, visitors enjoyed meeting first responders and exploring emergency vehicles, viewing demonstrations and exhibits, interacting with local businesses, participating in children’s activities and more.

Final numbers were not available by The Greater Olney News press time, but Hulsizer was optimistic about the fundraising effort benefitting the Olney Police Satellite Station, Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department, Maryland-National Capital Park Police and the Ofc. Noah Leotta “Act Responsibly Scholarship” Fund.

“We still had robust sales of food and raffles,” he said.

The event, always held on the first Tuesday of August, will take place on Aug. 4 next year.

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