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Paul Rubino was overwhelmed by the levers and buttons that crowded in on the drivers seat of a Holly Springs Fire Department engine. This was nothing, the 6-year-old said, like his familys car.
Theres not much space, and theres too much to keep up with, the precocious kid said as firefighter Lawrence Grande helped him down during a Tuesday night demonstration.
Holly Springs was one of the few local towns to brave the rain and hold its National Night Out Against Crime event on Tuesday. Dozens of people streamed through Jones Park to meet the towns new police dogs and talk with local officers and firefighters, who have hosted the event four years running.
Apex, Cary and Morrisville canceled their events due to weather.
The events, meant to increase awareness about community anti-crime efforts, are traditionally held on the first Tuesday in August throughout the country. But a forecast for rain caused the towns to call off their celebrations, possibly rescheduling them for the fall.
As part of National Night Out, an annual nationwide event that began in 1984, communities are asked to turn on outdoor lighting and spend the evening outside, learning about community safety and crime prevention. The sponsor, the National Association of Town Watch, suggests activities such as neighborhood cookouts, flashlight walks, vigils and visits from police officers.
Many local events were expected to take place in Target parking lots, with vendors and an array of town safety demonstrations. During the Night Out in Holly Springs, town resident Lila Cardona, 15, learned about her dream job while chatting with Officer Deborah Bauer.
I asked her about the training, the courses Ill need to take, said Cardona, who also picked up tips on pressure points.
Other families took the chance to catch up with the safety professionals who patrol their neighborhood.
I see yall jogging often, one officer told a local family.
The event also was a public debut for Haws and Justice, the Holly Springs police forces new canines. The German Shepherds were a bit testy toward family dogs but got along fine with curious children.
The idea is to bring the community in, said Police Chief John Herring.
Apex and Morrisville officials are not yet sure when they will host their Night Out; Cary expects to have an event between the end of September and early October.