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  • Writer's pictureJennifer McGraw

Hammonton enjoys National Night Out

Candice Atwell/THG Members of the Hammonton Police Department (l-r: Chief Kevin Friel, Sean Grasso and Sam Angello) take part in the tug-of-war contest during the National Night Out event on Aug. 4. See more photos inside on pages 12-14.

Fireworks were a colorful finale on Friday to Hammonton’s National Night Out, which also featured a 5k race, Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, a tug-of-war contest, 43 vendors and 12 food trucks.

And, of course, the Hammonton Police Department.

The annual event brings the community and local law enforcement together in a fun and friendly environment. This was year 10 for Hammonton’s National Night Out.

“[We] had lots of positive feedback with the activities we had available, like the bouncy houses, interactive games by the vendors, the festive tunes played by the DJ and the variety of choices for the food trucks,” Hammonton volunteer Mary Young said.

It was rainy and cloudy all day, but that didn’t limit the crowd.

Candice Atwell/THG Tommy Holwell (left) and Lilah Holwell eat blueberry cannolis in front of Mannino’s Cannoli Express.

“I think despite the weather, we had a great turnout,” Hammonton Family Success Center Director Patricia Donio said. “As the night progressed, more families came to watch the fireworks. There was something for everyone. It’s hard to believe that this was our 10th year.”

Guest were first greeted by Farm Friends and their goat, Dug. Farm Friends provides animal education with experienced animals and interactive visual aids. Another favorite stop was the Wawa booth, where guests had the chance to win free swag.

A highlight of the event was seeing which department would come out on top in the annual tug-of-war contest: police or fire. The event was refereed by Eagles mascot Swoop, and the fire department took home the trophy this year.

“The tug-of-war contest is a favorite of the crowd,” Young said. “Having Swoop and the Eagles cheerleaders definitely added to the success of the event and as always, the wonderful fireworks show ending the night with a blast.”

The event kicked off at 6 p.m. with the 5k race, which began in front of the football field. After the national anthem and encouragement from Eagles cheerleaders, the racers were off.

Shortly after 18 minutes, Danny Rodriguez finished first. For those who weren’t interested in the race, there was a one-mile fun run.

Rodriguez was grateful for the opportunity to compete in this year’s race. A Stockton track and field athlete, his coach encouraged him to compete. While Rodriguez finished at least a minute ahead of everyone else, his coach was still running this year, too.

“I felt good throughout the entire race, in the last half of a mile I tried to kick and see how far I could get. It was just a really good race,” Rodriguez said.

There were a mix of local and regional organizations. The family-friendly booths lined the Hammonton High School parking lot for games, photo opportunities and freebies throughout the evening. Besides the Eagles cheerleaders, beloved children’s cartoon character “Bluey” also took pictures with fans.

Candice Atwell/THG Joe Barbera (left) holds Autumn Holen as they meet Bluey during the National Night Out event.


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