Crime prevention and knowing your neighbors, along with food and fun, were themes at more than 90 Night to Unite block parties in Fridley Tuesday night.
Block captains and other volunteers hosted the parties throughout the city, which featured prizes donated by Target and peaches donated by Bob's Produce Ranch.
The total of 92 parties was lower than some past years, but Ginny Helseth-Miller, who works in special projects for the Fridley Police Department, said that was in part due to a trend toward bigger, multi-block parties.
A couple dozen neighbors gathered at Summit Square Park in a neighborhood that's been hit hard by storms this year. Block Captain Kim Imholte said she had worried that the loss of three trees in the park would mean that she now needed a tent, but the shade of a surviving tree sufficed.
The VFW on Osborne Avenue was hosting its first Night to Unite party, Helseth-Miller said.
At Park Plaza Cooperative, it was the first year for the manufactured-home park to mark Night to Unite as a co-op. There was a big turnout of residents, volunteers from sponsor Target as well as VIPs from city government, including Fridley Mayor Scott Lund, Fire Chief John Berg and Police Chief Don Abbott.
Lund and Abbott arrived together at Park Plaza Co-op at about 7 p.m. Lund said he strives toward an impossible goal of visiting all of Fridley's block parties. Abbott said they end up stopping at a more realistic number: about six or eight, he said.