Puppy Parade Graces Dixieland National Night Out in Lakeland
by James Coulter
Several dozen pupper doggos and their human companions marched their way through Dobbins Park in Lakeland as they made their grand arrival to National Night Out on Tuesday evening.
The puppy parade arrived from the adjacent Camphor Heights neighborhood. Lee Robinson led the makeshift parade, which included many of his neighbors walking, biking, and pushing strollers with their doggie companions by their side.
Robinson works as a dog trainer, so the parade came naturally for him. He attended that evening with his own female white boxer, Pandora. This was the second year he and his neighbors hosted the event in conjunction with the annual National Night Out in Dixieland.
“I think it is great,” Robinson said. “What they do out here…I think it is a great thing the city does and they help promote it.”
The Dixieland Neighborhood Association celebrated their annual National Night Out last Tuesday at Dobbins Park. The annual celebration included food, games, and other activities for the local children.
More than 50 backpacks filled with school supplies were given to participating children on a first-come, first-serve basis. Also given away that evening were two bicycles with helmets, both of which were conferred to a lucky boy and girl respectively through a raffle drawing.
Free pizza was provided from Hungry Howie’s Pizza, along with free drinks and water. Attendees were also able to play games with chalk drawings, soccer, basketball, and cornhole.
National Night Out is a nationwide initiative hosted in an effort to bring local communities and police departments together for a quality evening of camraderie. The Lakeland Police Department attended that evening to showcase many of their special units, including a demonstration with the K9 Unit.
Officer Simmons of the Lakeland K9 Unit participated with his fellow officers. He has been attending for many years, and he was glad to be able to do so again this year, even in spite of the ongoing pandemic.
“It looks like a great evening out here,” he said. “We are showing some of the special units of our agency, and making sure our community sees us, and [that] we interact with them and give them an insight of what we do on a daily basis.”
Tonya Rogers, President of the Dixieland Neighborhood Association, has been with the organization for many years. She loves being able to see the neighborhood and police department come together during events such as this.
“Ever since I have been on board, it [the event’s success] has been due to the love of the neighborhood and everybody who likes to get together,” she said. “I enjoy meeting with police officers and the neighbors and the kids.”
Dewey Cain served as a volunteer that evening. He has been with the association ever since it first started. During that time, he has seen his neighborhood rise and fall in quality. Even during the low moments, his community rallied together to make things better, he said.
“Now things are starting to improve, people are putting money into it, and it is becoming a real nice neighborhood again,” he said. “It is a good local area.”
Cain loves seeing friends, family, and loved ones come together for events like this: “I love the good friendly neighbors all my neighbors are real tight friends…We always enjoy it and the kids really enjoy it. When they come down, they look forward to it and have a good time.”
The Dixieland Neighborhood Association will be hosting a Taste of Dixieland event later this November. For more information, visit their website at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dixielandfl