Meet neighbors Tuesday at National Night Out

Neighborhoods across Rock Hill will break out the spatulas and scoopers Tuesday for National Night Out festivities.

Sixteen associations are expected to host cookouts, ice-cream socials and fish fries as part of a nationwide crime prevention event coordinated by the city's Police Department.

Officers and City Hall representatives will travel around town in caravans to visit many of the events. As in years past, neighbors will be treated to a cast of characters ranging from McGruff the Crime Dog to Assistant City Manager Gerry Schapiro.

In Sunset Park, neighbors will gather for hot dogs, chips and a pot of Mary Hope's famous homemade chili.

"We usually have a very good turnout," said Anna Daniel, president of Sunset Park's neighborhood association. "Whenever you have free food, it gets a good crowd."

Given the city's recent growth, many neighborhoods see National Night Out as a chance to get know their new neighbors. Organizers also say the event aims to strengthen ties between police and the public.

Some streets in participating neighborhoods will be blocked off for the festivities. During their brief stopovers, city officials are planning to give away T-shirts, pencils and pens.

More than 30 million people in 10,000 towns across the U.S. take part in National Night Out every year. For more information, call Sgt. Brad Redfearn at 329-5541.