August 5, is a good time for Keizerites to go outside and say hello to the people who live in their neighborhood. Next Tuesday is National Night Out (NNO), the annual event in which people are encouraged to meet and greet their neighbors to foster a sense of security and community.

Some neighborhoods have registered their NNO parties with the Keizer Police; those registered are visited by city, police and fire officials.

Residents who have not registered a gathering still have time to sign up with he city, though registration is not required.

Every neighborhood in Keizer has had new residents move in over the past year. National Night Out is the perfect time to meet them. In a modern society that is lived through technology, knowing and connecting with the people who live around us is becoming a lost art.

National Night Out sprang from the Neighborhood Watch program in which citizens pledge to, well, watch out for their neighbors. Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and helping to maintain the sanctity of the neighborhood.

Some NNO gatherings are grand affairs with dozens of people sharing potluck meals; barbecue grills cook up hamburgers and hotdogs. Some ambitious parties might even offer gourmet food. Some gatherings might be more modest. It is most important that a neighborhood gathering is held.

When we personally know the people we live around the result is a sense of community in which everyone has a stake. Neighbors are those who live next door as well as those who reside several doors down. Though our hectic days keep us focused on our own lives we should reach out to each other.

To make future National Night Out parties in Keizer more successful the city or some other organization should have a contest for the best decorated party, or most spirited. A blue ribbon or a trophy would be the prize along with the bragging rights.

What a sight to see dozens and dozens of parties each decorated to the teeth trying to outdo each other and win title as Best NNO Party of the Year.