National Night Out event set for Riverview Saturday

Holly Viers • Aug 7, 2019 at 6:30 PM

KINGSPORT — An afternoon of free food, games, giveaways and more is coming to town Saturday.

For the second year, Kingsport’s National Night Out event will be held in conjunction with the annual Community Cook-off Cookout at the Riverview Splash Pad. The family-friendly event welcomed well over 1,000 people last year, and organizers hope it will grow even more this year.

“Last year, I think we had 1,438,” said Ryan Smith, founder of the Community Cook-off Cookout. “So my guesstimate for this year is 1,700 to maybe 2,000 people.”

What to expect

The event will begin at 4 p.m. with a National Night Out proclamation from Mayor Pat Shull. After that, local first responders will be recognized, a moment of silence will be observed for gun violence victims, and a balloon memorial will be held for those who have lost loved ones in the last five years.

Attendees can enjoy a variety of free food and activities such as kickball, a bouncy house, a slip ’n’ slide, an egg hunt, a dance contest, a pie-eating contest and three-point contest for children. Bicycles, backpacks and school supplies will also be given away.

As the event concludes at 9 p.m., community members are asked to turn their porch lights on until 9:10 to show their support for law enforcement.

Coming together

Several local businesses, churches and organizations have come together to help make the event a success, including South Central Kingsport Community Development, Children of the Community, New Vision Youth and Texas Roadhouse.

Johnnie Mae Swagerty, director of South Central Kingsport and New Vision Youth, said the event aims to encourage community unity and promote partnerships between law enforcement and citizens. She added that other community events are in the works, including a march against gun violence.

“We just want to promote police-community partnerships; drug, crime and violence prevention; safety; and neighborhood unity,” Swagerty said. “We are proud of our Kingsport Police Department and responders for what they do; they put their life on the line for us to keep us safe.”

If it rains, the event will relocate to the Riverview Community Room.

For more information, contact Swagerty at (423) 429-7553.