Left: Residents flooded East Ohio Street to participate in National Night Out. (Photo/Kelsey Shea).

Starting at about noon on Tuesday, East Ohio Street was looking a little more colorful than usual.

Tables were set up with free popcorn, cotton candy, face painting and colorful balloons. Kids were running around with hot dogs and free bike helmets distributed by Allegheny General Hospital.

The usual midday bustle was replaced with crowds of kids, craft tables and a festive sense of community.

Hours later,  Fineview, East Allegheny, Brighton Heights, the Mexican War Streets, California-Kirkbridge, Spring Garden and Brightwood had similar celebrations as a part of National Night Out ­­–– an annual, nation-wide event that promotes community awareness of safety issues and establishes neighborhood watch training for communities that want to be active in dealing with crime.

“The event went very well. We had done it before at night, but we did it this year in the afternoon to really kick it off,” said Mary Lee Tracy, the East Ohio Street event organizer.

Tracy estimated that Tuesday’s event had between 900 and 1,000 attendees and about 30 merchants and other vendors participate, a significant increase from last year when they held it in the evening.
“A resident told me ‘This is the way East Ohio Street use to be, with all these people,’” said Tracy.

Send your National Night Out pictures to editor@thenorthsidechronicle.com