Kids and families enjoy a night out in Hanceville

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Amy Hasenbein Leonard

HANCEVILLE – Despite the thunderstorms earlier in the afternoon, hundreds of families ventured out to C.W. Day Park in Hanceville for the town’s annual Kids’ Night Out event on Friday evening.

Attendance was lower due to the afternoon’s weather and city hall fielded several phone calls during the day asking if the event would still take place. But, the devoted people of Hanceville were undeterred.

Local police departments including Hanceville and Cullman were on-hand along with state troopers, Cullman County Sheriff's deputies and fire fighters from Hanceville and many surrounding municipalities. The agencies were immersed in the throngs of citizens who were there to enjoy an evening of safe, summertime community fun.

New resident Tania Isbell expressed her gratitude for the event, “This is a really good thing to have. We’re new here and it’s good to get to know some of the policemen and other people from here. We don’t have many people living around us where we stay so I’m glad my kids are playing with other kids tonight.”

The goal of Kids’ Night Out has been to familiarize the children in the Hanceville area with the names and faces that go with their local heroes – the police officers and fire fighters in their area for over 10 years now.

Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail shared that the event was started when the former police chief, Ed Potter, was still at the helm of the Hanceville Police Department.

“Ed Potter started this when he was police chief here. It’s been probably 10-12 years now since our first Kids’ Night Out. Kids’ Night Out allows the children and the adults to come out and meet our first responders, police, fire and EMS and let them know that they’re our friends, they’re here to serve you, help you and just have a good, fun fellowship.”

As kids and a few adventurous adults hopped on the mechanical bull while others enjoyed free hots by the pavilion, Hanceville’s love for its citizens and its community was apparent.

Hanceville City Council Place 4 candidate Ed Heaton manned a John Deere riding mower pulling a train filled with children behind him. The kids laughed and giggled as Heaton drove in circles and snaked the John Deere around the lot. At the end of each ride Heaton’s grin of joy equaled that of the children’s as they thanked him.

Members of the school band performed for the crowd as the color guard unwound their flags. Police officers took to bended knees to talk to small children and learn their names. Members of the Bulldogs’ football team mingled in the crowd as teen girls took notice. The town mayor took the opportunity to fit in some campaigning and shake a few hands as the sun set behind the waving American flag.

See a full photo gallery at: http://qrne.ws/kno.

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