National Night Out Is Wednesday

Zootopia, the 2016 animated hit from Disney Studios, will be featured as part the upcoming National Night Out celebration in Batesburg-Leesville.


In the 2016 Academy Award-winning film Zootopia, the movie’s unlikely heroine Judy Hopps bounces from her quiet, uncomplicated small-town life to a law enforcement career in a frenetic urban landscape populated by a rogue’s gallery of complex — and at times dangerous — creatures.

Of course, Zootopia is rich with the expected slapstick comedy, deep color palette and infectious musical soundtrack of a Disney Studios animated hit, but it dares to dig a bit deeper. A critic for The Observer, a popular British newspaper, reviewed the movie as “a delightfully well-orchestrated parable about trust and tolerance versus panic and prejudice, an encouragingly upbeat celebration of love and diversity in times of hate and uncertainty.”

That blend of pure family fun and a powerful, relevant message would seem to make Zootopia a timely selection for the free Family Movie Night that will cap the latest National Night Out celebration in Batesburg-Leesville. The annual community-building event is coming up Wednesday, August 7 from 6-8 p.m. behind the Senior Center at 227 Highland Ave.

Of the movie night fare, Mayor Lancer Shull said, “I think it’s a fantastic choice, a very appropriate choice for the evening.”

National Night Out is a nationwide effort “that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live,” according to the National Association of Town Watch (NATW). Batesburg-Leesville is one of more than 16,000 communities that participate in the annual observance, launched by the NATW in 1984.

The event is presented locally by the Town of Batesburg-Leesville and its police and fire departments, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the Batesburg-Leesville Chamber of Commerce and the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission.

“This is an event that encourages people to not only come out and know law enforcement, but to know each other,” Mayor Shull said. “There are some people who just don’t know their neighbors…It’s an opportunity to bridge that gap, to know who your peace officers are, and to connect and make that relationship with them, to make that human connection.”

Local festivities begin at 6 p.m. with displays of police and fire vehicles and free refreshments provided by the Joint Municipal Water & Sewer Commission. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad will stage a demonstration at 6:30 p.m. featuring its bomb robot, followed by a drone flight exhibition by the B-L Police Department and the Dream Catchers, the Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Committee.

The B-L Fire Department will light up the early evening with a firefighting demonstration leading into Family Movie Night, presented on the County’s 30-foot inflatable screen. During the showing of Zootopia, Dream Catchers will sell concessions to support its youth programs.

Mike Taylor, president of the Chamber of Commerce, believes that the National Night Out serves as a model for how various agencies and organizations – and all of Batesburg-Leesville’s citizens — can work together for the community’s greater good.

“Our job is to promote business in Batesburg-Lessville. In order to have a strong business environment, you need a strong community,” Mr. Taylor said. “You have to offer things for the people to do. All of this brings the community together as one.”

Story by Tony Baughman / Posted on August 1, 2019