College Hill community meets for annual night out

Fahad Alfaryyan

The College Hill community celebrated National Night out at Boswell Park on Aug. 8, 2015.

National Night Out is an annual national event that happens across America, focused on bringing people in each community and neighborhood together for a night of food, fun and socializing.

Residents of College Hill said they were looking forward to meeting their neighbors and getting acquainted with them.

“We just moved to this neighborhood eight months ago and it’s a very good neighborhood,” said Corey Fox. “I am here for the social experience and to know more people in the neighborhood.”

Matt Benaka said he doesn’t have a lot of opportunities over the course of the year to meet neighbors in the community.

“In an event like that, you could go out and meet your neighbors,” Benaka said.

This year in Topeka, the College Hill community packed their National Night Out with many activities such as a bike rodeo, cookouts, face painting and a “stuff the city bus” contest.

Many children were drawing with chalk on the concrete while their parents enjoyed the event.

The theme of the event was bicycling. There was a drawing for bicycle lights for the participants of the event. One of the coordinators, Andy Fry, who is a cycling enthusiast and attended a previous National Night Out event, brought a Topeka Metro bike to the event to give participants a test ride.

“We want to create a community environment where people can meet their neighbors, be exposed to bikes, and see how bikes can be safe for the neighborhood and to be source of transportation,” Fry said.

Fry said he aims for more cyclists and more people to feel comfortable riding in their communities and neighborhoods.

Other College Hill residents were supportive of cycling and making it more common in the neighborhood.

“I am very supportive of the cyclist community here in Topeka,” Benaka said. “I think it’s very important to find another means of transportation and getting around without using cars.”

In addition to the bicycling activities, the Topeka Metro bus filling contest was a competition between neighborhoods that aimed to encourage people to ride the bus.

This year the bus was filled with 89 people, which was 11 more people than last year.