A dunking tank was a popular spot for those attending the National Night Out sponsored by the Town of Shawangunk Police Benevolent Association (PGA) Aug. 2 at Garrison Park in Wallkill.
Early on during the event, County Legislator Ken Ronk was dunked over and over by participants who didn’t mind waiting in line to throw a ball at the circular bullseye to send him splashing into the water.
William Amthor, son of Shawangunk Town Board Member Brian Amthor, broke out into a huge smile when he hit the target with his dad perched above the tank. But when he remained on the platform, the younger Amthor calmly walked up to the target and pushed it to drop his dad into the water.
Fun was the order of the day as youngsters spent a lot of time bouncing around in the bounce houses. A group of Plattekill Girl Scouts did a steady business selling cookies, and a row of food trucks drew a lot of customers throughout the free event, which ran from 4 to 9 p.m.
There were also many demonstrations and displays and a mac and cheese eating contest. A bike raffle was held, with children getting the opportunity to win bikes. Music by a DJ was provided during the National Night Out festivities.
A fireworks display closed the day’s activities.
The second annual National Night Out was organized by the Shawangunk PBA to promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
The goal of the event was to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances, according to Shawangunk Police Chief Gerald Marlatt.
“Usually, circumstances aren’t the best when people meet the police,” Marlatt said. “Especially in a small community, it’s important for people to know who the police are and we’re just like everybody else. We’re average citizens who live in the town and just happen to have this particular job.”
Marlatt said nearly the entire Shawangunk police force mingled among the crowd during the event.
“It’s nice if the public can match up a face should they need us at some point,” Marlatt said. “They can feel a little more comfortable having seen us and interacted with us in a positive way at an event like this.”
Amthor said the event was also a fundraiser for a local food pantry.
“It’s a great family night and we had wonderful weather,” said Amthor, one of two Town Board members who serves as a liaison to the police chief. “It’s a good community day and everyone seems to be having a good time.”