First responders take the spotlight at National Night Out

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Between 800 and 1,000 people gathered Aug. 6 at Meadowland Park for South Orange’s National Night Out festivities, celebrating the village’s first responders while waiting for the sun to set to watch a movie outside.

The national holiday, which started in the 1980s as a way for communities to get to know the police by turning on their porch lights, has expanded into a gathering during which neighbors get to know one another and local first responders. South Orange has been participating in National Night Out for the last 10 years, according to village President Sheena Collum in a phone interview with the News-Record on Aug. 9.

“It’s typically a celebration of public safety, and we wanted it to be a celebration of all of them rather than just the police,” Collum said. “It went great.”

Photos by Amanda Valentovic