Citing a need to continue to show appreciation for the community, the Alton Police Department will be hosting their 3rd annual National Night Out tonight at the Sylvia Vela Park.
The event, which traditionally has giveaways and speakers from dozens of local law enforcement agencies to celebrate the relationship between law enforcement and the community, will look a lot different this year.
“It’s going to be a drive-thru, Halloween-themed event,” Alton police Chief Jonathon Flores said. “We’ll have props and multiple vendors who will join us at this event to give back to the community with school supplies and candy to celebrate in this manner.”
The event will be similar to last week’s Palmhurst National Night Out event where officers and vendors handed drivers goodie bags filled with candy and school supplies.
Alton’s previous National Night Outs would normally draw over 1,000 children receiving food, free haircuts and school supplies. “It’s all about adapting to the situation and overcoming difficult times, this isn’t normal and we’re trying to still provide a service to our community,” Flores said. “I know everyone feels the same way and we’d love to do this in the traditional manner but we can only do it in a safe manner.”
Those attending the event can enter the park via Carter Street where vendors will be waiting for them on the east side of the parking lot. Drivers are urged to begin driving on the north side of the parking lot to register.
A local DJ will be on sight to provide Halloween music and props from Alton’s Haunted House, which is cancelled this year, that will be on display throughout the park, Flores said.
All vendors will be wearing PPE and be social distancing and no one will be allowed to exit their vehicles, Flores added.
“We understand we’re in a pandemic and it was a difficult decision but we decided we should take all safety measures and precautions so we could still deliver a quality event where we give back to the community,” Flores said. “We appreciate them and know this has been a difficult time for them and we want to give back and help them. With online learning, students still have to have school supplies to do these things so we want to give that to our community and also families not doing their regular trick or treating.”
The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. at Sylvia Vela Park, located on 327 S. Alton Blvd.