Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Hundreds gather to play carnival games during the Nite Lite-Love Madera event at the Madera Fairgrounds Monday night.
The Madera District Fairgrounds were swarmed with zombies, superheroes, pirates, and princesses Halloween night, looking for free candy, and out to play games.
It was all part of Love Madera’s Nite Lite 2016, put on by the Madera Ministerial Association, as a way to give Maderans a safe and family-friendly way to celebrate the holiday.
“We actually started this about 20 years ago, give or take a few years,” said Pastor Roger Leach of Valley West Christian Center. “We actually did it locally at our own Valley West Christian Center, and then what happened is that we started saying: ‘You know something? This is so good for our community,’ so we got other churches involved.”
According to Leach, they have been carrying out this event together for roughly a decade, only cancelling in the event of bad weather.
“The whole idea is that at churches, we really don’t approve of the Halloween scene, but we approve of the harvest. We approve of the season of abundance, and we’re celebrating that,” Leach said. “But we also realize that there’s a lot of people who celebrate Halloween, so what we wanted to do is show a peaceful way of doing it, we want to show a joyful way of doing it, and we wanted to provide a service for our community.”
Thousands came for the festivities, and coupons for free food were also given out. In addition, game booths and an obstacle course were set up, and live music and booths for different charities were open to inform the public of their work.
Twelve churches in total helped to put the festival on, with further help from the Madera Police Department, and the Madera County Probation Department.