(WFRV) – August 2 is National Night Out and several communities in northeast Wisconsin participated in the nationwide event.

Local 5 News was in Grand Chute, Fox Crossing, and Neenah on Tuesday to check in on the action and see how each community was celebrating the event.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. Dating back to the 1970s, the idea was started by a patrol officer in Lower Merion Township in Pennsylvania. It became a national event in 1981.

The COVID-19 pandemic and unrest related to the officer-involved death of Minnesota man George Floyd interfered with recent events, but this year, communities are back in full force.

“It’s a beautiful night out here for National Night Out,” said Grand Chute Community Resource Officer Dylan Davis. “We have a lot of people out here hoping to make a great event.”

Those in Grand Chute at Lions Park got to experience an emergency vehicle display, live demonstrations, mascots, food, prizes, and more.

In Fox Crossing, eventgoers at O’Hauser Park were treated to inflatables, food trucks including Kona Ice, famous car displays, cornhole with a cop, demonstrations, and a kids versus cops kickball game.

“It’s going great for just starting,” declared Public Information Officer Dan Weichman. “Our police department officers are here to chat with everyone, also our fire department and gold star crew.”

Weichman says while the focus is on family fun with face painting to therapy dog demonstrations, this is also an opportunity for people to make a meaningful connection with those who are in charge of public safety.

“This is what we call grass-roots policing,” added Weichman. “So often the interaction with police is negative. This gives us a chance to have positive interaction with the public.”

Members of the Neenah community gathered at Washington Park to meet up with local law enforcement and Mayor Jane Lang was the first to get in the dunk tank.

“I’m happy with the turnout and it’s a beautiful day. Who could ask for anything better than nice weather and a lot of fun with the whole community out. There are a lot of kids and a lot of activities and the best thing is, it doesn’t cost anything,” Officer Joe Benoit said to Local 5 News.

Other communities in northeast Wisconsin partook in the event such as Allouez, Bellevue, Berlin, Brillion, Howard, New London, Omro, Shiocton, and Winneconne to name a few.