ERIE, Pa. -- Thousands of people headed to National Night Out gatherings, which hosted free family fun across Erie County.
"It's fun. We all can play around together. We eat," said Tyemier Houston, 11, of Erie.
He spent a lot of the time playing with his best friend 11-year-old Jordan Serrano of Erie.
"I did basketball, Connect Four, rolled the dice, and I went to eat," said Serrano.
The Boys and Girls Club of Erie organized an event at Edison Elementary School. It was one of 18 events in the county Tuesday, which were funded by United Way of Erie County.
Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said, “You meet your neighbors. Hopefully, then afterwards, you share other things with your neighbors and that’s really what builds what will be a resilient community.”
The national campaign, which began in 1984, promotes civic pride and brings awareness to anti-crime efforts.
Erie Police Deputy Chief Aaron Wassell said, "That's the best part is talking to the children, interacting with them, showing them that we're their friends."
Wassell met families and gave sticker police badges to kids.
After receiving his badge, five-year-old Hunter Guldenschuh said, "That was very nice."
Just two miles away, families at the Multicultural Community Resource Center were having their own fun.
"It gives the kids an opportunity to experience different activities with other kids. And meeting new people," said Tiffany Alward, of Erie, who brought her three children.
The Eastside Neighborhood Watch organized the event, where children also played and took home free books.
Steve Simmelkjaer, coordinator of Eastside Neighborhood Watch, said, "I have a lot of gratitude for what the people bring when they bring their heart and when they bring their spirit here."
Erie’s Public Schools sent representatives to City of Erie gatherings to discuss the district’s transformation.
United Way has supported National Night Out since the mid-1990s.
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