Night is for neighbors to meet, mingle

Turn on your porch lights, lock your doors and head on over to your neighborhood National Night Out party on Aug. 3.

Deemed as "America’s Night Out Against Crime," last year more than 36 million family members in 15,000 communities participated in 26th annual NNO festivities. Last year in Rochester, there were 170 NNO parties with 25,365 invited guests. This year’s goal is 30,000.

"We want to get close to one-third of our population out, and at the rate we are going, we're going to do it," says Darrel Hildebrant, advanced crime prevention specialist with the Rochester Police Department. Hildebrant notes that NNO parties appear to be the "in thing" to do this year. "If you are hosting a NNO party, you're in the in crowd. It's the social thing to do."

The idea behind NNO is to get neighbors together in a fun, festive setting that helps strengthen neighborhood spirit and ultimately helps neighbors organize against neighborhood crime.

In some neighborhoods, NNO parties are organized by Neighborhood Watch block captains, but in many others it's a neighbor, or small group of neighbors, that decide to put on their party planner hat and whip up a NNO party. Parties range from ice cream socials to potlucks, cookouts, picnics, dessert bars, neighborhood olympics, and wine and cheese parties.


"Some parties are simple and some go all out with live bands or bounce houses and games for the kids," says Hildebrant.

Locally, NNO is a collaborative effort between the Rochester Police Dept. and the Olmsted County Sheriff's Dept. with all the local, need-to-know NNO party information available on the Cop Talk Live website. Not only can your family register its NNO party, but you’ll also find a NNO checklist, party ideas, and printable party invitations.

"Party ideas, registration form, invitations, plus the award-winning Rochester NNO cookbook. Just about everything you need for NNO is on the website," says Hildebrant.

If you go

What: National Night Out

When: Tuesday, Aug. 3

On the web:,

Inside the lines


You don’t have to be a great artist, just a willing participant, to take part in the RNeighbors RColorful Corners street mural painting project. This summer, volunteers will be retouching four existing murals and painting one new one.

Family members of all ages are invited to participate in the two remaining painting projects. Remember to wear clothes you can get paint on and bring a brush if you have one. Go online to check out photos of the murals.

If you go

What: RNeighbors RColorful Corners street mural painting project

Where: Northrop Neighborhood "Goose," Northrop Education Center (201 Eighth St. N.W.); Cimarron Court Neighborhood "Unity," (20-1/2 Avenue Northwest at 48th Street)

When: 9:30 a.m. Aug. 11 (rain date, Aug. 12); 9 a.m. July 31 (rain date, Aug. 1)

Phone: 529-4150

On the Web:


Sandwiches with extra Mayo

Just three more opportunities for your family to enjoy Sundays at Mayowood. Pack a picnic lunch (and a blanket) and enjoy exploring the grounds and the family-friendly themed activities.

Free. Park at Mayowood. Call the history center with questions. Activities will be canceled if it rains. The house will be open for tours. Fee applies to tours.

If you go

What: Sundays at Mayowood

Where: Mayowood Estate, 3720 Mayowood Road S.W.

When: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. July 25 ("Trees"), Aug. 1 ("Fairy House"), Aug. 8 ("Bugs and Butterflies")

Phone: 282-9447


On the Web:

Simple, unlobed, doubly toothed

Maple, oak, willow — learn how to identify these and other trees at Zollman Zoo’s Tree Identification program. During the program, park staff will discuss various trees found in Minnesota (and maybe your backyard) and share some basic tree identification tips.

No fee or registration. Meet in the nature center. Call if weather looks questionable.

Want more? Check out the University of Minnesota Extension’s "Beginner’s Guide to Minnesota Trees." Found online, the guide clicks you through a series of simple questions (simple or compound leaves, smooth or toothed-leaf edges) that will help your family quickly distinguish boxelders from ash.

If you go

What: Tree Identification

Where: Oxbow Park’s Zollman Zoo, 5731 County Road 105 N.W., Byron


When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Phone: 775-2451

On the Web:;

Just ducky

Round up your little ducklings and waddle on over to the library next Wednesday. Ventriloquist Gary Wick and Clarence the Duck will be stopping by with family-friendly jokes, songs and stories.

Free. No registration. Go online to watch video clips of Gary and Clarence.

If you go

What: Ventriloquist Gary Wick and Clarence the Duck


Where: Rochester Public Library, 101 Second St. S.E.

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 28

Phone: 328-2303

On the Web:;

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