EVART — Forming trust and relationships between the community and emergency responders can be a huge benefit when tragedy strikes, and National Night Out is an event that can begin and strengthen such a bond.

National Night Out is a free opportunity for children and parents to interact with a number of local emergency-response personnel and resources geared toward safety and family relationships, according to Evart Police Chief Kendra Backing. This year it will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 5, in Riverside Park.

"The event allows the community to see officers in a casual light and allows for relationships to be formed," Backing said. "The event promotes police-community relationships, crime prevention and overall neighborhood camaraderie. It also sends a message to criminals that we want our community to be safe."

In addition to the Evart Police Department, members of the Reed City Police Department, Osceola County Sheriff's Department, Michigan State Police, Evart Fire Department, Osceola County EMS, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Osceola County Emergency Management's Community Emergency Response Team and Osceola County Animal Control will be in attendance.

National Night Out will feature activities for all ages, food and drinks, raffles and giveaways, Backing said. To win a raffle prize, attendees must speak to an officer, who will then give them a ticket, which is a numbered bracelet, that could be called for one of many prizes. Items such as bikes, backpacks filled with school supplies, sports equipment and gift certificates are up for grabs.

Local business and individual sponsors help make the night possible, and the event is sure to attract hundreds of local families and individuals as it continues to be popular.

"Our department looks forward to this event every year and it is very humbling to see everything come together," Backing said. "It's nice to be part of something that benefits so many people."