Temperatures weren't the only thing raised at Tuesday night's National Night Out in the Sully Station II area. Community pride seemed to be emanating from every pore on each street that held a block party. National Night Out, an annual event held each August, is an event in neighborhoods around the nation to help promote public safety, coordinated by the local Neighborhood Watch members who could be spotted by their orange vests.
ORGANIZED BY Dan and Leslie Jenuleson, they have been orchestrating Sully II's National Night Out since 2002.
"We joined the Neighborhood Watch in 2000, and then started to get people to organize these block parties," said Dan Jenuleson. "It was brought to our attention by officer Elizabeth Barrington in 2002 about National Night Out. We get a lot of joy out of doing this every year."
Prizes are handed out to the best parties based on decoration, food, activities, showmanship, and genuine community spirit, and it seemed many local figureheads came out to witness the event.
Traveling between the festivities was Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer, trying to dodge blasts of water from an onslaught of young water canonneers, while at the same time joking with McGruff the Crime Dog.
"I hope you're getting enough water out here tonight," he said.
Along with the local police officers that were moving around with him was Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerry Connolly. At one point, Connolly asked the local water boy, John Introne, 2, to blast him with his bite-sized power washer to relinquish some of the heat. When John was asked about the heat, his reply was straight forward and simple — a smile and a look to the next person who seemed hot.
At two of the block parties, neighborhood children played music out of their garage and on street corners. In Linden Creek, the band played a mix of music, as if the bands themselves were playing a small venue in a cul de sac. When asked what kind of songs they had planned for the Connolly and Rohrer, Danny Yoo said, "Anything they want I guess."
At one point a parent yelled to them, "Play something patriotic!" Whether on purpose or accidentally, they seemed not to hear.
Karen Munger, who was busy greeting people as they came into the cul de sac, seemed to have a hard time controlling her dog "Molly," who was over-excited by the commotion around her.
AT WOOD CREEK, known for always winning the Town Homes portion of the competition, there was a fisherman's theme. Fish nets hung from a small tent decorated accordingly, and everyone's plate was filled with shrimp and other sea-dwelling finger foods. The men standing around the tent compared stories on biggest fishes ever caught. One would have expected to hear a fog horn and a flock of sea gulls with this kind of atmosphere.
In Beaumeadow Drive, another band played, but they seemed to be just hitting intermission. A barbecue grill was common at almost every block party, but this one seemed to have the largest crowd around it.
"It's quite a turnout, if you're hungry we've got plenty of cooked burgers for you," said chef John Munroe, and then proceeded to flip the burger patties and sausages.
Next to the grill was a wading pool where the children had pulled a spinning sprinkler head with a hose attached to it.
Every now and then it would come out of the water and give everyone a quick spray. One would expect a parent to quickly reprimand the children, but no one seemed to mind at all.
At each celebration people were dressed for the warm weather. It didn't seem as if any other color existed except for the red-white-and blue's peppering pieces of fabric, foil, and jewelry. Every member of the neighborhood watch was required to wear layers of plastic necklaces, shining with silver, blue, and red stars. Some of the parents, who probably just left work, were looking hot and uncomfortable in their slacks and pressed shirts, while others jumped in the middle of the water fights with the children to cool themselves.
Sully District Supervisor Michael R. Frey commented on the festivities by saying, "We've been doing this for years and I love it, it's an incredible display of community spirit."