West Allis - Even if the heat persists, the West Allis annual National Night Out community festival will go full tilt from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Farmers Market at 66th Street and National Avenue.
To help crowds deal with the forecasted heat, West Allis Police Department, the event's host, is promising a lot of shade plus snow cones, lemonade, soda and water at very affordable prices.
The event won't start until evening, so at least it won't be in the heat of the day, West Allis Police Lt. Chad Evenson said.
National Night Out is always a big favorite, Evenson said, and this year the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department will add its heavily armored Bearcat used by SWAT teams to the event. Two tactical unit members will be on hand to answer questions and perhaps have a display of some SWAT team equipment.
While the bearcat will be great addition to the event, all the perennial favorites will be back, as well, he said.
"Because it has been so successful, we tried to keep the status quo," Evenson said.
For kids that will be good news because they love the small hose they can use to spray water at a target 20 or 30 feet away, courtesy of the West Allis Fire Department.
The other family-friendly doings will include music by Eagle Entertainment, face-painting, several large inflatable attractions for children and teens, a rock climbing wall, a train ride for small children, free bicycle helmets (for the first 120 people to register their bicycles) and many challenging children's games.
The Police Department will display Segways that whisk riders along, sensing the direction they want to go by how they shift their weight, Evenson said. Lean forward, and the Segway will take you forward. Lean back, and suddenly you're in reverse.
While only police officers will ride the Segways, kids will be allowed to sit on the big Harley-Davidson police motorcycles. Also, the pressure washer that's used to erase graffiti is expected to again draw an excited crowd of youngsters, Evenson said.
Several city departments will have booths providing literature on their services, and in some instances have displays and interactive demonstrations.
In addition, the Health Department will have a large wellness fair featuring 30 health care professionals from a variety of fields who will be available to speak with visitors at no cost.
The variety of low-cost food to be sold for $1 or less includes corn on the cob, chicken on a stick, hot dogs, pizza, snow cones, popcorn, nachos and cheese, soda and bottled water.
Once again, the West Allis Police Reserve Unit will offer its chicken barbecue for $8, with drive-through service also available.
Neighborhood block parties will continue the celebrating the evening after National Night Out. Normally, about 60 parties are held, but this year only about 40 are planned, possibly due to the heat wave, Evenson said.
Uniformed police officers along with motorcycle police, McGruff the Crime Dog and Fire Department personnel will visit the parties between 6 and 9 p.m.
- Jane Ford-Stewart
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