National Night Out takes to the streets in Menlo Park’s Willows neighborhood

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on August 7, 2013

Young Menlo Park resident takes part in National Night Out at Menalto Corners in the Willows neighborhood

The area surrounding Menalto Corners in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park was turned into a street fair last night, part of local National Night Out festivities.

A measure of its success (or the fame of one its merchants!): Studio Cake’s Beth Ann Goldberg was out of free cupcakes before the event was an hour old. “We baked 20 dozen,” she said. “Unfortunately, now we are ’empty cake!'”

Activities included street dancing provided by students at Nona Ybarra’s Captivating Dance, a dunking tank that proved popular with 10-year-old boys, and hula hoops provided for the taker. We spotted one preschooler who not only had the moves down but had already captured the necessary air of nonchalance.

Devin Joos at Cafe ZoeRecent artworks by Menlo-Atherton High School student Devin Joos (pictured right) and Willows resident artist Dana Shields were on display, in part to highlight Ravenswood School District’s Arts Program. They pledged to donate 10% of their sales to fund art supplies for Ravenswood schools. (Note: Currently, the majority of classrooms at Belle Haven do not have any art supplies, not even crayons, glue or drawing paper. Art supplies for Dana’s second grad classes have been made possible through donations from friends, family, All Students Matter and University Art in Palo Alto.)

“This is my first gallery show, but art has influenced my life ever since I can remember,” said Devin. “I find myself painting or drawing when I can’t sleep, if I’m frustrated, and sometimes in class. It’s an easy escape for me that sometimes turns into something amazing!”

National Night Out is an annual event designed to strengthen communities by encouraging neighborhoods to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners. The goal is to heighten crime-prevention awareness as well as build support and participation in local anti-crime programs. In addition to Studio Cake and Captivating Dance, other participating Menalto Corners business included Cafe Zoe, Menalto Cleaners, and the Day Spa.

NNO events in Menlo Park were also held in Sharon Heights; Hamilton Avenue/Belle Haven School/Mt. Olive Church, all located in Belle Haven; and at Little House, the senior center on Middle Avenue.

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