HUDSON — An army of community children attacked a group of police officers with water balloons in Hudson, and the officers fought back.
About 14 officers formed a phalanx, some holding riot shields to guard against the coming onslaught of water balloons.
The officers, some in uniform and some in department polo shirts, held their own against the use of aquatic artillery, returning fire in-kind and landing some hits. But the children quickly flanked the officers’ position on both sides, and the officers found themselves surrounded and overrun.
The battleground, a school athletic field, was still freshly littered by the fallen eggs that hadn’t survived the egg toss competition that preceded the battle.
The egg toss and water balloon fight were two of the main events during Hudson’s first ever National Night Out event hosted by the Hudson Police Department.
Hundreds of families and children turned out for the block party event Tuesday evening between Hills Garrison Elementary School and Alvirne High School.
The event was organized in part by Hudson officer Jason Downey, who also sat in a dunk tank for the first half of the night. Hudson Fire Prevention Officer Steven Dube sat in the tank for the second half.
Downey was also joined by the department’s comfort-K9-in-training, Haven, who was named by a vote of community members on Facebook in June.
Area farms including Phaneuf Farm Alpacas in Hudson and Carriage Shack Farm in Londonderry brought alpacas and goats, respectively, for a petting zoo, and Carriage Shack Farm also brought a pony for kids to ride.
A row of police and fire vehicles, a monster truck and a race car were also on hand for kids to interact with.
There were about five food trucks, as well as face-painting and outdoor games, including giant checkers.
Downey said the idea for the event followed conversations he had had with people about doing a community event that connected families, businesses, the police department and the fire department.
Officer Rachelle Megowen suggested participating in National Night Out, Downey said.
The George H. and Ella M. Rodgers Memorial Library was a critical partner in the endeavor, Downey said.
Aside from Downey and Megowen, other event coordinators included library director Linda Pilla and the library’s head of children’s services, Betsy Martel.
“I think it was a great success. I saw a lot of parents and kids having a great time and interacting with our officers, which is what it is all about. Just seeing the faces on the kids when we had the water balloon fight was priceless,” Downey said.
Several other police departments across the state participated in the 36th annual event, including Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Merrimack and Salem. The event is meant to strengthen police and community partnerships and encourage more support and participation in anti-crime efforts, such as community watch groups, according to the National Night Out website.
U.S. Attorney Scott Murray joined law enforcement and community leaders at Concord’s event at Rollins Park on Tuesday.
“For 36 years, National Night Out has rallied neighborhood residents, law enforcement and community leaders in the common goal of strengthening relationships to help prevent and deter crime in our local community,” Murray said in a press release Monday. “I am proud to stand with my colleagues and my neighbors to support safer streets and work together to drive out crime.”
Londonderry Police Capt. Patrick Cheetham said in a video posted on the department’s Facebook page that the department doesn’t participate in National Night Out only because it dedicates all its resources to the annual Londonderry Old Home Day celebration, which will take place Aug. 14-18 and will mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of Nutfield this year.