August 6, 2013
Macalester-Groveland, Merriam Park, Hamline-Midway 10.4 miles
It was a delightful start to National Night Out, mostly sunny with the temperature in the mid-80s. However, uncertainty hung in the air, literally, in the form of menacing grey storm clouds to the north and west of Saint Paul. If the threat of storms put a damper on National Night Out celebrations, I saw no hints.
Barricades of various material, size and construction announced block parties from Mac-Grovland to Merriam Park to Hamline-Midway.
The block party at Edmund and Syndicate in Hamline-Midway drew a lively assortment of neighbors of all ages. Co-organizers Shawna Klatt and Kristin Howatt told me this is the first time there’s been a National Night Out block party in their neighborhood. As Kristin, Shawna and I conversed, Kristin seemed to realize they threw a really successful block party, “You know what? I think this is an awesome kickoff party. I think we’re going to do this every year now!”
“We just share with everybody – it’s a total traditional pot luck.”
Kristin went on to tell me about the food. “We brought the hamburgers and hot dogs, Shawna brought a bunch of salads and she got a bunch of all those chips and drinks and then everybody else brought a dish to share. We all did it together!”
Shawna mentioned that many of the neighbors have met but don’t know each other well, “We’ll do events like Paint the Pavement and then just kind of retreat back into our houses. It’s a good reminder that our neighbors need to be aware of each other and know each other and know each other’s kids and watch out for each other too.”
As we finished the interview, Kristin and Shawna kindly offered me dinner. However, a light drizzle began to fall so I finished picture taking, jumped on my bike and made a bee line home. As you likely remember, the rains came in earnest shortly before 8, when I was a couple of miles from home. By the time I got there I was soaked head-to-toe but was much more disappointed what the weather had done to all the block parties.
Click on the link to see the National Night Out route: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/348612891