By Jeff Toquinto on August 07, 2021
For the first in its history in Bridgeport, National Night Out was not held at the Benedum Civic Center. A big part of the decision to move it away from the Main Street site was due to social distancing requirements at the pool and ongoing COVID issues.
As it turns out, the new venue worked out pretty well.
“We all liked the venue and most of us heard a lot of positive feedback on it,” said Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker.
Does that mean the move is permanent?
“We’re not sure what we’ll do next year, but this location provided a lot of options,” said Walker.
Walker said the only setback was not having the swimming available. However, with the crowds growing every year the pool and the entire downtown format has been a little difficult to handle due to the limited space.
“Space was definitely the biggest benefit of it. We could put our exhibitors in one area, vendors in an area, entertainment in an area, law enforcement in an area, along with others separated with plenty of space,” said Walker. “The separation didn’t cause people being crowded into areas and interfering with other groups on hand.”
Walker estimated there were 2,500 people there, but that the crowd – due to the amount of space available for use – seemed much less than at the Civic Center where people were often wall to wall from start to finish of the event.
“You had some crowded areas, but nothing like we have had at the Civic Center,” said Walker. “Another really big benefit was parking. Parking and getting to the site proved to be a lot easier.”
Walker said groups involved will review both locations when planning starts next year. Regardless, he said they have a solid option if the Civic Center site is deemed no longer feasible for the growing crowds.
Editor's Note: A portion of the area used for National Night Out is shown above. Photo by Ben Queen Photography.