National Night Out has come and gone again for another year, but those in attendance left with smiles galore, not to mention rulers and pencils for schools, hand-made first-aid kids, coupons for food at local eateries and bellies full of free food handed out at the crime-prevention celebration held on Oct. 3.

In spite of the rain before NNO opened up and some that fell towards the end, Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes said this year’s event was better attended than ever before.

Outside the Community Center, normally used for parking, were bounce houses — which are always a favorite with the younger set — police vehicles stationed with officers who let children climb inside, hot dogs roasting on grills and grandparents sitting to the side watching all the fun.

Inside the Community Center were booths with an incredible amount of safety and health information. The large Fire Department bays were cleared of their vehicles and filled with more food and information vendors.

And everywhere, police officers and firefighters were interacting with the public, which is one of the NNO goals — to build camaraderie between the public and those who work daily to keep them safe, police and other public servants.

“Due to the weather,” Barnes said, “the (Texas Department of Public Safety) helicopter wasn’t able to fly. We hope they can join us next year. The helicopters landing always are a favorite, not only of the kids, but for everyone. But all of our vendors and business supporters came out, donating their time and funds for this event.”

Barnes said, “We had lots of kids here, and a great time. We are grateful to have such great community support of the police department here.”