Despite temperatures in the low nineties, Lakesiders turned out in large numbers on Tuesday, October 1, for the community’s second annual National Night Out (NNO) festivities.
Since 1984, National Night Out (NNO) has encouraged neighbors across the country to come together to build relationships with one another and with local law enforcement agencies in an effort to curb crime.
(Nationally, the event takes place on August 1. The Texas chapter recently opted for an October date in search of cooler temperatures, which didn’t help much this year.)
The Flower Mound PD Community Services Unit conducts the National Night Out effort, which includes an “NNO Best Neighborhood of the Year” (aka, “NNO Block Party Of The Year”) contest designed to spur attendance at the events.
Three neighborhood classes are eligible to win: one large HOA, one small HOA, and one private party not associated with an HOA.
Organizers of the Lakeside event estimated that about half of the community’s 250 homes were represented at the triangular park at Surrey and Northwood on October 1.
The Lakeside leaders had some special motivation, and a secret weapon. The motivation came partly from failing to win last year’s contest.
“Last year was a disappointment,” acknowledged Holly Homer, a member of the homeowners’ social committee and lead coordinator of this year’s event. “That motivated us to pull out all the stops.”
The effort entailed having a team hand-deliver event invitations to Lakeside homes as well as to the community’s apartments and businesses. Jenice Pizzuto and Sandy Ludwig coordinated and supervised the event’s popular activities including a bounce house, a face painter, a balloon artist, photo booth, and a crafts area for coloring police cars and the NNO logo.
The fire department dispatched a fire truck to the park, which attracted the attention of the kids (and some dads). Drinks and pizza kept everyone from going hungry.
But the Dog Costume Contest — Lakeside’s secret weapon — served as the main event, drawing approximately 20 contestants and attracting many more interested spectators.
“It is the perfect event for Lakeside,” said Kathy Frisbie, who conducted the show and announced each contestant as they walked the runway. “Lakeside is so canine friendly!” she explained. “We have our own dog park, and we are blessed with so many dog watering stations.
“Dogs are family in Lakeside,” she added. “Many of us know each other through our dogs! Since Lakeside is a ‘walking community,’ it makes sense that dog owners are very familiar with each other and their dogs. In many cases, we may not know our neighbor’s name, but we know her dog’s name!”
The team from the town (including State Representative Tan Parker plus one police department and one fire department representative) served as judges of the contest.
They awarded Kylie McDaniel, who sported a pink ballerina costume, the top prize. Kylie narrowly beat out dogs dressed as a teddy bear, a bumblebee, a guitar-wielding rock star, and the guys from Duck Dynasty showing up as “Dachshund Dynasty.”
“The judges commented on the neighborhood support of the audience for this event,” said Frisbie. “One of the judges asked me if everyone knew each other since the cheering crowd was so enthusiastic.
“’We may not know everybody,’ I responded, ‘but we know everyone’s dog!’”
The National Night Out festivities entertained all those who attended and reinforced the sense of community that Lakeside residents appear to enjoy all year long.
“Lakeside is very interesting,” said Gil Metzger, who organized the Lakeside Homeowners Association Crime Watch two years ago by persuading over half of the homeowners to sign a petition supporting it. Click here for a video of the event.
“The homeowners come from a diverse set of age groups, cultures and careers,” he added. “But one thing is universal, everyone was friendly and inviting when I was collecting signatures to establish the Lakeside Neighborhood Watch. I was overwhelmed with the hospitality I received from everyone in Lakeside.”
“People walk around here at night more than in other neighborhoods. It has a social aspect that is special.”
“When you move to Lakeside,” explained Jenice Pizzuto, “you receive a Texas-sized welcome. The community embraces diversity and is passionate about coming together and supporting one another.”
“We’ve really connected with neighbors. It is a cool lifestyle. We see each other frequently on the sidewalks and boardwalk and in the shops, parks, and restaurants.”
— Holly Homer,
“Many Lakeside homes have front porches,” added Holly Homer, “and people like to get out and walk around. It is such a different environment from where we lived before. That neighborhood didn’t even have sidewalks.
“We’ve really connected with neighbors. It is a cool lifestyle. We see each other frequently on the sidewalks and boardwalk and in the shops, parks, and restaurants.
“And the social committee organizes something every month. On November 29, we’re having a small business Saturday, when we’ll shop at the boutiques (i.e., Hello Daffodil and Briesley’s Boutique).”
“We like excuses to get together,” Homer laughed.
“In many ways,” agreed Frisbie, “National Night Out was not unique for us. It was just one more typical day in Lakeside — neighbors sharing their lives.”
You all might like this story from 2013:
Living at Lakeside DFW to be a social experience