Last night, hundreds of people stepped out of their homes and joined their neighbors at block parties, community BBQs and potlucks. In Berkeley, the police department issued 52 street closure permits to enable block gatherings.

The casual socializing was all part of National Night Out, an initiative supported by cities and their police and fire departments, to encourage neighborhoods to become closer in an effort to reduce crime.

After reading about National Night Out on Berkeleyside, Michael Davidson took a tour of some of the local block parties in Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland and shot these photographs. As befits our food-loving communities, the fare on offer looks top-notch.

Do you have stories or photos to share of the neighborhood block party you attended? If so, let us know about them in the Comments.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...