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National Night Out 2018: What It Is, and Where Parties Are Happening Near You

Friends celebrating New Year on the rooftopFriends celebrating New Year on the rooftop
Here's what National Night Out is, and where to find events for the 35-year-old community-building initiative near you.martin-dm—Getty Images

National Night Out, the annual community-building initiative to bring community members and law enforcement officials together to build camaraderie, takes place this year on Tuesday, August 7, 2018.

The annual event, held the first Tuesday in August each year, is organized by the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to community building. In 2018, the event’s 35th year, it’s expected that 38 million people in 16,000 communities across the U.S. will participate. That includes a number of security- and civic-minded celebrities including NBA commentator and former basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal, who is famously a reserve police officer in his South Florida community.

Every National Night Out event is unique—like the communities where they are held—but you might call them block parties with a purpose. This National Night Out map, created by the National Association of Town Watch, can help you find a local event near you.

Events offer all sorts of activities for individuals and families, as well as opportunities to meet local police officers in a neighborhood setting. Picnics, all-ages games, and giveaways (especially back-to-school supplies) tend to feature prominently. This year, the night will have sponsors including home security company Ring and granola bar maker Nature Valley.

Some businesses like local Target stores also sponsor events, with raffles, prizes, and information booths representing community groups as well as public safety personnel.like

Some regions have special offers, such as this 7-Eleven promotion in parts of North and South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Mention National Night Out for a free small beverage including a coffee, fountain drink, or Slurpee.