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Griffith safety showcased

With the help of Griffith firefighter Frank Alvarez, Adam Huang, 6 of Griffith, puts out a “fire” as part of an obstacle course in 2016 at Griffith's annual Public Safety and Community Day in Central Park. This year's event is set for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

GRIFFITH — Families who attend the annual Public Safety and Community Day events Saturday at Central Park will be treated to bounce houses, costume characters, a street magician, K-9 demonstrations and much more, police said.

More than 50 organizations and businesses will be on hand as Griffith's first responders showcase their capabilities from noon to 4 p.m., Officer Pete Ghrist said. 

"This is more than just going around a couple of police cars getting in and out of them," he said.

Instead of planning a National Night Out event in early August like many other Region communities, Griffith's Public Safety and Community Day offers something slightly different, Ghrist said. There will be so much going on, families could spend the entire afternoon at the event.

"This is definitely going to be our biggest one yet," Ghrist said. "We're really looking forward to this."

Children will be able to look at police cars and firetrucks, and they can bring their bicycles to navigate a safety course. The first 36 kids who complete the course will receive a free helmet.

There will be two bounce houses with a cannonball blaster in the middle, Ghrist said. High school and college students will play costume characters, and there will be a dunk tank to benefit the special needs group Best Buddies.

The Lake County Sheriff's Department helicopter will make a landing, and a street magician will walk the park performing tricks for three hours. There will be a DJ, games for children, and food for sale.

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A bowling team will have an oversized bowling ball and pins set up, and a school robotics team will show off its robot.

Families will get to meet four police K-9s, including one from Griffith, one from Munster and two from the Sheriff's Department, and one chemical-sniffing dog from Marathon.

Police will distribute information about child safety seats, an addiction response program and the Explorers program for teens interested in a career in law enforcement.

Firefighters also will offer demonstrations.

Ghrist said the idea was to offer something for everyone. In the event of heavy rain, the event will be moved to Sunday.

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