MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ – Crowds of people came out Tuesday night for the annual National Night Out event in both South Brunswick and Cranbury.

Several hundred-people gathered in Village Park in Cranbury from 5-8 p.m. to meet local officers and get some grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and potato chips during that community’s event, sponsored by the local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #68.

Free cotton candy, popcorn and ice cream from Gil & Bert’s were also available.

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Attendees were entertained by a DJ, bounce houses and a visit from a State Police helicopter.

There were also emergency fire vehicles on display from the Cranbury Volunteer Fire Department.

In neighboring South Brunswick, an estimated 7,000 people set a record for what has become one of the largest National Night Out events in the state.

“We are victims of our own success,” South Brunswick Police Capt. Jim Ryan said of the record turnout between 6-9 p.m. at Rowland Park on Broadway Road. “We didn’t anticipate this large a crowd.”

Parking became an issue early on with the normal overflow parking in a field next to the park, at capacity at around 7:15 p.m. with dozens of cars still coming.

South Brunswick’s event featured a myriad of tables from various township organizations as well as displays from police, fire, and other emergency entities.

A few years back, the township combined the event with its Community Unity Day, an event that featured the community organizations and other vendors, sponsored by the Municipal Alliance against substance abuse.

The joint event has grown remarkably in the last few years, drawing thousands of attendees in the township’s largest park.

South Brunswick has won several state and national awards for its National Night Out program.

Some 125 volunteers handed out more than 2,700 hot dogs during the night and a beverage truck from High Grade Beverage dispensed birch beer to the crowd.

National Night Out, held annually on the first Tuesday night in August, started in the 1980s to bring people and law enforcement agencies closer together and aid in preventing crimes.

Nationally, the event takes place in more than 16,000 communities with more than 38 million people attending the events, according to the organization’s website.

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