National Night Out celebrations aim to boost community connections |

National Night Out celebrations aim to boost community connections

Tawnya Panizzi
Aspinwall’s National Night Out celebration has blossomed since first starting in 2009. Last year, it drew more than 1,000 people.

Thousands of local residents are expected to mark National Night Out on Aug. 6 with an annual celebration in Aspinwall and a first-ever event hosted by Sharpsburg and Etna.

Revelers will gather to celebrate community connections, organizers said.

Hailed as a night of appreciation for first responders, the event is aimed at boosting relationships.

Aspinwall will mark its 10th annual festivity from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Community Fields off of 5th Street.

“Over the past decade we’ve embraced the philosophy that a safe community is one that is connected and engaged,” Jenny Ellermeyer, Aspinwall Neighborhood Watch president, said.

The event will include live music from Kelsey Friday and the Rest of the Week, as well as activities for all ages that include a dunk tank, 50-50 raffle, caricatures and a Disney raffle.

Allegheny Health Network’s LifeFlight helicopter is scheduled to land on the ball field, which Ellermeyer said is a crowd favorite.

New this year is the “Neighborhood Lounge,” an area for guests 21 and older where there will be samples of Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries’ Boyd & Blair potato vodka, Sharpsburg’s Dancing Gnome’s hop-forward brews and Natrona Bottling Company’s Jamaica’s Finest Ginger Beer.

Since it launched in Aspinwall in 2009, National Night Out has grown from 500 people to more than 1,000 last year. Proceeds topped $16,000 and were split among the borough’s police and volunteer fire departments and Foxwall EMS.

Aspinwall Neighborhood Watch is hoping to raise $20,000 this year. Admission is $5 per person or $10 for families.

In neighboring Etna/Sharpsburg, the municipalities will join together for an inaugural celebration, also 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 6, at the Gateway Portal along Bridge and North Main streets.

Groups scheduled to be on-hand include Etna police, Etna Fire Department, Shaler-Hampton EMS, Sharpsburg police, Sharpsburg K-9 Unit, Sharpsburg VFD, Seneca Area EMS, and the North Hills Special Response Team. They will have vehicles and equipment for people to check out.

There will be live music from the Right On 5th Band and food trucks that include Korean grill MR Bulgogi, The Pub Chip Shop and Kona Ice.

There is no charge for admission.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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