In Kilgore and Liberty City neighborhoods Tuesday, local fired up the grills, brought out their lawn chairs and enjoyed good food and conversation with each other and first responders.

Tuesday. Oct. 1, was National Night Out, an annual event intended to promote closer relationships between residents and local first responders, such as firefighters and police officers.

12 parties were held, 11 in Kilgore and one in Liberty City, and firefighters from Sabine Volunteer Fire Department and Kilgore Fire Department, as well as police officers from Kilgore Police Department, visited as many gatherings as they could to enjoy the spread of home-cooked food and friendly conversation.

“National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie,” according to the event’s website, www.NATW.org.

The National Night Out program began in 1984 and is celebrated in communities nationwide. It’s typically held the first Tuesday in August but Texas holds the event in October when the summer heat is slowly beginning to fade.

In Kilgore and Liberty City, locals enjoyed snow cones from Charlie’s SnoBall, blew up balloons and kids got to sit in the front seat of fire engines while others shared jokes and conversations in the early fall evening.

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt and Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano joined KPD officers and firefighters from Kilgore and Sabine fire departments in making the rounds to various area parties.

Parties were held on FM 349, Ivy Street, Beckley Street, Rockbrook Drive, Woodway Cul-de-Sac, Rim Road, Royal Drive, Boone Street, Ridgecrest Lane, Mimosa Street and Towne Oaks Circle in Kilgore and Ridge Lane in Liberty City.

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