Events bring communities together
Vallejo celebrations range from potluck to catered treats
Article Launched: 08/06/2008 07:33:24 AM PDT
Saher Haidari, 4, left, and her brother Samir, 5, share the seat of a fire
truck at the Hiddenbrooke Country Club on Wednesday night, as their father, Enayat and Vallejo fire Captain Cordon Moncibais
look on during National Night Out celebrations in Vallejo. (Mike Jory/Times-Herald)
National Night Out events were held in more than 20 neighborhoods
across Vallejo on Tuesday - ranging from pot luck and folding chairs in the Carquinez Mobile Home Park's club house to white
linen table cloths and cupcakes on the Hiddenbrooke Golf Club lawn.
Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis said he attended the south Vallejo mobile home park gathering and
the one in his own neighborhood across town, the Hiddenbrooke area.
"I wanted to meet the people here (at the mobile home park)," he said.
Dozens of park residents schmoozed and ate and seemed to enjoy themselves at the event,
which grew out of the park's need for free Dumpsters, said Fighting Back Partnership's John Allen.
"The Dumpster Program gave free Dumpsters to neighborhoods that would
hold an event like this," Allen said. "When the police department cut back, that and other programs were at risk. Fighting
Back took them over."
Donna Plummer, half of the group Mind's Eye with James Dotts, plays flute
in the parking lot of U.S. Bank on Tennessee Street in Vallejo. (Mike Jory/Times-Herald)
Tuesday's was the fourth consecutive year the park's held a National Night Out event,
"We just had to keep it going, these programs are too important to lose," he said.
The idea behind National Night Out is to bring neighbors together to help create a sense
of community, and it seems to work, said Joe Maionchi, a Hiddenbrooke resident who attended the event there with his family.
"I come to this every year," said Maionchi, a Silicon Valley software firm manager. "It's
about building community. The kids love to climb on the fire trucks, and you get to know some of your neighbors."
Hiddenbrooke resident and event organizer Richard Tirrell said the Vallejo Fire Department
and the area's private security firm were represented at the event, at which about 200 people were expected.
"This is our third year," Tirrell said. "The first year, we had it at a park. Last year
we sold tickets and had 400 people, but we had dinner. This year, it's just desserts and drinks. It's about meeting and greeting
the neighbors you don't see during the week."
The Tennessee Street corridor business community organized three National Night Out gatherings
as part of its efforts to revitalize the area, organizers said.
Several hundred gathered at the Kelly-Moore Paint store and across the street at Centro
Latino and Realty World to enjoy live music by WSR and a barbecue, ice cream and other goodies, said organizer Rick Mariani.
There was also an inflatable jump house for the children. Target Stores donated school supply stuffed backpacks, which were
won in drawings, Mariani said.
"It was put together by the Washington Park Neighborhood Association and Team Tennessee,"
Mariani said. "It's part of our campaign to get rid of graffiti, clean up the streets, address traffic issues, start a business
watch program. We figure, if the neighbors know each other, they may respect the neighborhood more."
Several dozen other central Vallejo neighbors converged on the U.S. Bank parking lot on
Tennessee Street for a similar event organized and sponsored by the businesses along Tennessee Street.
Participants there ate hot dogs, lumpia and other goodies, as they enjoyed live music from
local musicians, Mind's Eye, and the children bounced around in an inflatable house.
"It's great," said neighbor Misty Kranz. "We should do this more often. Everybody's getting
together and it can only make Vallejo better. I love Vallejo. It's a great city, and everybody needs to know that."
• E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at RachelZ@thnewsnet.com or call 553-6824.