National Night Out returns to Aztec

Hannah Grover
Nicholas Martinez, left, Hannah Deenihan and Kaiden Mills play with hula hoops July 28, 2015, during Aztec's annual National Night Out event at Minium Park.

FARMINGTON — The Aztec Police Department is once again planning a National Night Out celebration.

There are National Night Out events around the country, and the events typically take place on the first Tuesday in August. However, Aztec presents its event earlier than most. The event will start at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 19 at Minium Park, 200 N. Park Ave., and will feature vendors, live music, games and a doughnut-eating contest.

"National Night Out is really for the community to come together so we know who our neighbors are," Aztec police Chief Mike Heal said.

He said it is a way for the community to band together against crime.

"Anything we can do to help keep crime out of our community is good," Heal said.

One of the highlights for children is the chance to win a free bike. WalMart gives the police department broken bikes, and a local mechanic repairs the bikes for the raffle, said Sherri Gurule, the administrative assistant to the chief.

Two organizations will also be distributing free bike helmets.

"Everybody pulls together, and it's just awesome," Gurule said.

The event, which has been taking place for about 16 years, attracted a couple of thousand people last year, Heal and Gurule said.

Both Heal and Gurule said they are excited about the annual event.

"I love going around and talking to people in the park that night," Heal said.

While some of the favorite attractions from previous years will return this year, the event will also include new events, including powwow dancers, Heal said.

"I'm just excited about everything we have and how the community comes together," Gurule said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.