ALBEMARLE — The streets of downtown Albemarle were barricaded from traffic on Saturday night as crowds of families, city organizers and officers mingled throughout the Main Street Town Square to celebrate Community Night Out.
This year’s edition of the annual event was hosted by its two usual sponsors: the Albemarle Police Department and the Safe Kids Stanly County nonprofit organization.
While the inclement weather from the previous night forced the cancelation of Locust’s End of Summer Concert Celebration — an event scheduled for the exact same time on Saturday — Albemarle’s night went on as planned with an emphasis on offering entertainment choices specifically catered to the younger crowd in attendance.
“Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday evening to Community Night Out in Downtown Albemarle and visited the Safe Kids Stanly County stations,” Safe Kids Stanly County posted on its social media account on Monday.
Kids in attendance for the Community Night Out had activity options to choose from with giant inflatables, face-painting booths, cornhole and other games available; many of these spots were run by officers and other emergency responders who volunteered to help out.
Initially formed back in 2012 as a localized version of National Night Out, the Albemarle event is designed to serve as a bonding effort between police departments, city businesses and the local citizens they interact with every day.
The festivities kicked off shortly before 4 p.m. as information booths operated by the Albemarle Fire Department, Stanly Community Christian Ministry, and local Boy Scout groups finished setting up their individual areas. Various food trucks lined up on the street for dinner options, with the Whataburger truck consistently drawing the most attention.
Thirty minutes later, the Valhalla Band began playing an hour-long set of music that consisted of pop and rock cover songs from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Once the performance was finished, a D.J. at the stage began playing a list of songs on the sound system that was curated by the band.
“Perfect night for some great music and good friends!” the official Valhalla Band social media page posted following the band’s concert. The group has been a staple act at community events in Stanly County since its initial formation in 2015.
After the band’s set ended, a large crowd gathered in the middle of the street to watch a performance of nearly 20 members representing the Stanly County Gymnastics group, who performed for around a half-hour.
The next official event set for downtown Albemarle is the 2021 Autumn Extravaganza, which will take place on Oct. 28-30.
The Halloween-themed three-night schedule includes the Jeepers Creepers Haunted Jaunt 5K race and ghost tours presented by the Stanly County History Center. In addition, the Forsyth County-based Legacy Motown Revue group will offer live music as the soundtrack for a craft fair and farmers market on the third night of the festival.