ROSCOE/SOUTH BELOIT - Around 500 people attended Roscoe's first-ever National Night Out Main Street block party Tuesday, as community members mingled with first responders.
This year's National Night Out event also coincided with the completion of the Roscoe Police Department's newly renovated headquarters on Main Street. Still in the same location, the building was renovated to included modern amenities, work spaces and offices.
Residents were able to wander through the new police department and then continue onto Main Street for fun with Roscoe police and Harlem-Roscoe Fire Protection District staff.
Village President Dave Krienke said the renovated police department was a key project for Roscoe.
"We did a cost analysis of remodeling with repairs versus new construction and remodeling was most effective," Krienke said. "It takes care of us for the next 30 to 40 years. It's a modernization of the space. It's a functional police department with today's standards in place."
The light-hearted affair saw a cookout and live music plus crafts and games. The fire department and police department went head-to-head with a tug-of-war contest, and cooled off with a dunk tank. The village's Classic Car Show also took place alongside the block party with door prizes for classic car owners.
Police Chief Jamie Evans said she was thrilled to be hosting the village's first-ever Main Street block party with the fire department.
"I am more excited by our block party," Evans said. "With the open house, it's great and it's really come together. As far as the citizens being able to tour the new department, I am just glad that we've gotten really positive feedback on it and that it's a functional space for everyone."
For one Roscoe family, Tuesday's event was a way to connect with first responders who helped in their greatest time of need.
Earlier this year, 5-year-old Roscoe boy Turner Craig went into cardiac arrest and was saved by Harlem-Roscoe staff, according to his mother Violet Craig.
"A lot of the faces that we are seeing tonight are the ones that responded that very night," Craig said. "So we definitely want to get involved with everyone. It's great to see everyone off duty and here with the community. It's great to see their faces and it's a big part of why we came out. I think it's part of the community being able to come out tonight. We are part of it and wanted to show our support."
In South Beloit, National Night Out was held in City Park for the first time in several years. The community event normally is held at the South Beloit High School, but this year organizers opted for an outdoor event.
Although a few sprinkles fell Tuesday night, the rain held off and everyone seemed to have a good time munching on chips, hot dogs, cookies and chili.
Deputy Police Chief Adam Truman, who helps plan the event each year, said all of the food and the prizes given out during the night were donated by local businesses. Prairie Hill Meats donated hot dogs, Wendy's donated chili, Axium Foods donated chips and TreeHouse Foods donated cookies. Local businesses also donated funds to buy backpacks filled with school supplies and bicycles which were given away in prize drawings.
"I am so impressed with the businesses in South Beloit. This is a very generous community," said Police Chief Patrick Hoey.
The South Beloit event usually attracts up to 800 people, and despite the threat of rain, several hundred people turned out in the park.
"I'm surprised. This is more people than I thought would turn out," Truman said.