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Community braved elements to support Alexandria

North Memorial Ambulance was on site during Community Night Out at City Park in Alexandria to talk with citizens. (Crystal Dey/Echo Press)1 / 4
Assistant Fire Chief Bill Thoennes with the Alexandria Fire Department manned the Parks Department table with Alexa, 4, and Easton, 2. The Parks Department educated people on where the emerald ash borer is now and has been in past years. (Crystal Dey/Echo Press)2 / 4
Culver's continued to scoop ice cream treats for people who dared dodge the drops during Community Night Out in Alexandria on Tuesday evening. (Crystal Dey/Echo Press)3 / 4
Connor, 4, and his dad, Chris Zirbes, came prepared with an umbrella to Community Night Out in Alexandria at City Park on Tuesday. (Crystal Dey/Echo Press)4 / 4

Fearless as the Vikings who are rumored to have settled on Alexandria's soil centuries before, Alexandrians challenged a tornado watch and thunderstorm warning to dodge raindrops in solidarity for Community Night Out.

The event is held each year simultaneously with cities and towns throughout the U.S. as part of National Night Out, an evening set aside once a year to build stronger community partnerships. Alexandria celebrated its 10th year taking part in National Night Out at City Park on Tuesday evening.

"It's a great community event," said Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels. "It's nice to see so many people come out despite the rough weather."

Community Night Out was coordinated by the Alexandria Police Department. Local businesses and emergency personnel were on hand to meet and greet residents.

Kids bopped around in the Alexandria Fire Department's bounce house and lined up for rides in the Alexandria Light and Power bucket-lift truck - before the threat of lightning lowered them out of the sky.

As the sprinkling rain started coming down harder, people packed into the picnic shelter where a free dinner was served. Hot dogs, chips and soda were provided by community businesses. Under the shelter of a large tree, Culver's kept scooping ice cream for a line of people standing in the rain.

"It's a community effort," said Jan Essig with the Eagles Club. "We donated the hot dogs, someone else provided the buns. It's all donated."

National Night Out was first held 30 years ago to take a stand against crime.

Crystal Dey

Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.

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