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Cottage Grove hosts Night to Unite: Meet and greet brings out the crowds

Amelia Mizell, 5, shares with mom Lindsay Elwell during the Aug. 7 Night to Unite in Cottage Grove. Elwell organized the party in her cul-de sac. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Zion Lutheran Church held a block party during Cottage Grove Night to Unite. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Annual Night to Unite picnics in Cottage Grove drew police, firefighters, residents, elected officials and Strawberry Fest ambassadors together to renew their shared commitment to crime prevention, public safety and community pride.

A visit by a city fire truck, sirens wailing, was a highlight at a block party hosted by Lindsay Elwell of Cottage Grove. Her daughter Amelia Mizell, 5, wore her star-shaped police sticker with pride.

At Ideal Park, the outdoor picnic included yoga on the grass.

There were 45 registered parties, Community Affairs Officer Adam Pelton said.

The city also held its annual Fill the Backpack campaign. The Cottage Grove Public Safety Board provided a backpack to interested party planners. People were encouraged to fill the backpacks with school supplies, which the city then donated to Friends in Need Food Shelf.

Residents also donated paper towels, plates and napkins as part of the city's Paper Products campaign.

"They were very generous this year," Pelton said. "We filled two pickup trucks full of donations from the neighborhoods."

There was also a coloring contest to win a free splash pad rental at Highlands Park.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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