BARNEGAT, NJ - Barnegat's sense of community was in great spirits during the Township's first National Night Out. Despite the call for stormy weather, the sun presided over the event. Happily, the mosquitos realized their precense would deter from the evening of fun. They took their clue to stay away.

What's important is who did make it to the high school field on Tuesday evening. More than a few hundred young and old residents came to check out the event, sponsored by Barnegat PBA 296. While walking around to take in the sights was enough for some, free food and music were a definite plus.

"Everything you see here was donated," shared Barnegat PBA President James Purcell. He joined a host of police officers who were there with a message. The purpose of the event was to strengthen ties between neighbors and those who help and serve them.

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Two things add to the success of every event. As far as the music, East Coast Productions kept the party alive and also announced things throughout the evening. 

Food was plentiful and donated as well. Reportedly, Lefty's Tavern cooked and served 700 hot dogs. The  Van Dyk Group contributed water bottle, while Wawa donated other drinks.  ACME added to keeping people fed by providing  chips.

There were a couple of highlights of the evening. Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain and Barnegat School District Superintendent of Schools Brian Latwis alternated spots in a dunk tank. Both were good sports as they took several plunges into the water.

Children and adults alike had a chance to check out emergency vehicles. Horns and sirens made plenty of noise.

The NJ Army National Guard flew over its UH-72 Lakota and landed it in the field adjacent to the main field. Many flocked to take pictures and see the helicopter up close.

The Barnegat Local PBA thanked Barnegat Republican Club and Barnegat 67 for monetary donations. They also listed and expressed gratitude to the participants who set up tents to support the community. They included Barnegat Recreation, Bayside Chapel, Barnegat Communities That Care, RWJBH Institute for Prevention and Recovery, DART Prevention Coalition of Ocean County, Barnegat Library, Girl Scouts of New Jersey, Oasis Family Success Center, Hearts of Mercy, Pets for Vets, The Children’s Home Society of NJ, Associated Humane Societies (Popcorn Park Zoo), Barnegat Soccer Club, Hanu Yoga, Barnegat Basketball Club, Pheasant Run Fire Wise Committee, Barnegat Lacrosse, Barnegat Rotary, Horbelt & Brackman PTA.

Thanks were also offered to t the NJ National Guard Counterdrug Task Force and their helicopter, Barnegat School District for their location and especially their excellent Facilities Manager and grounds crew/custodial staff, Barnegat NJROTC for their color guard and for running the dunk tank, Dan McGrath-Barnegat Music Teacher who played the National Anthem for us, 

.Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at sfaughnan@tapinto.net.