A few early rain showers did little to dampen the spirits of the hundreds who attended Ocean Pines’ second annual National Night Out event, Tuesday at White Horse Park.
The free event included representatives from Ocean Pines Police, the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland State Police.
Law enforcement, nonprofits and community groups provided information, hosted activities and games for children, and handed out raffle and door prizes.
Visitors to White Horse Park on Tuesday evening were also treated to free food and drinks, including hot dogs courtesy of the Kiwanis and Republic Services, snacks provided by Sea Floor Carpets and Pipeline Contracting, and ice cream donated by Mister Softee.
National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anticrime efforts, and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
“I was happy with the large turnout and gratified with the participation of our residents,” Ocean Pines Police Chief David Massey said. “We also appreciate the participation of our Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland State Police – our partners who we have a great relationship with. The event was kind of a reaffirmation of community policing within Ocean Pines.”
Massey and Del. Wayne Hartman each took turns as the subject of a dunking booth – sponsored by the Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce – during the event.
“I enjoyed everything. I even enjoyed the dunking that our children and residents gave me,” Massey added. “Everybody always says it’ll be cold, but it wasn’t that bad. The first time you hit the water, it’s like going in the ocean for the first time.”
Massey and Hartman also helped to run the dunk tank and, more than once, pressed the button to send the other splashing into the water.
“Overall, I thought the whole event was great,” Hartman said. “It was a great turnout and a great event with a lot of different agencies represented. Considering the weather we had just before this, it’s been a great day and a fun time for everybody. Hopefully we’ll be doing it again next year.”
Chamber Executive Director Kerrie Bunting said both Massey and Hartman were good sports.
“They kept saying, ‘As long as there’s kids in the line I’m going for it.’ We really appreciate their help, and they did it for the community. The kids just loved it,” Bunting said.
Other event participants included Republic Services, who offered a display on recycling guidelines. Republic Services Division Manager Anthony Spirito answered questions from the public, while a local elementary school student, Marissa Davis, provided helpful tips for children.
“I was impressed that nobody beat me up,” Spirito said with a laugh. “I was also impressed that people specifically came over to learn about recycling and it was great that the community wants to learn and wants to do the right thing. And with my help from Marissa, it was a great event. I even made some friends tonight!”
For Choptank Electric Cooperative, National Night Out was a chance to engage with the public. Manager of Marketing Communications and Member Engagement Elizabeth Hallett said 117 people stopped by her booth.
“I felt like it was a really well attended community event and a really great way to get the families involved and to talk to [cooperative] members,” Hallett said. “We’re hoping to do more of that in the future and to take part in more local events.”
Organizing the event was a collaboration between the Ocean Pines Police Department and the Marketing and Public Relations department, with ample assistance provided by the Recreation and Parks Department and Program Director Debbie Donahue, as well as Public Works.
The event organizers would like to thank the following groups for attending and/or providing donations:
Steen Associates, Inc., Republic Services, Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction, United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, Hope4Recovery, the Worcester County State’s Attorneys Office, the Eastern Shore chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association, Kiwanis, Choptank Electric Cooperative, Berlin First Baptist Church, Atlantic General Hospital, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, Worcester Goes Purple, Pinesteppers, the Girl Scouts, Diakonia, the Worcester County Health Department, Faith Baptist Church, the Cricket Center, Be Smart, Minuteman Press, the Women’s Club of Ocean Pines, Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department, Worcester County Arts Council, Ocean Pines Neighborhood Watch, Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program, Harris Teeter, Mister Softee, Mickey Vacations, Power of Two, Atlantic Physical Therapy, Food Lion, Children’s Book Garden, Sam’s Club, Jolly Roger, Maryland State Police, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Natural Resources, Chick-fil-A, Walmart, Hogs for Heroes, and Great Clips.