Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Olaf, Elsa and Anna from Frozen wave to the crowd on the Madera Auto Center float Thursday night during the annual Candlelight Christmas Parade.
The streets of Downtown Madera were awash in the colors of the Christmas season as decorated tractors, trucks, and cars made their way down Yosemite Avenue, covered in lights.
It was all part of the 23rd Annual Candlelight Christmas Tractor Parade. Put on by the Madera Downtown Association, and organized by the Madera Kiwanis Club the first the Thursday after Thanksgiving, it has served as Madera’s way of greeting the Holidays for nearly a quarter of a century.
“It’s the kickoff to the Christmas season,” said Sharon Creamer, the head chair of the parade. “For me, and I know for a lot of people.”
In total, participants from more than 30 different businesses, schools, clubs, and charities paraded down the streets to the delight of thousands of Maderans who, with hot chocolate in hand, went to stand out in the cold and see the different vehicles, and the ways they decorated their entries and themselves.
Among those who participated were members of the Justin Woods Foundation. Carrying signs with them reading: “Miracle ‘Just In’ Time,” they proudly marched in the parade as they do every year, but this particular occasion was one of celebration for the group. Named after Justin Woods, who passed away from muscular dystrophy last year, the foundation is dedicated to raising money to find a cure. This year, the FDA approved of a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Another sign carried by the group, simply reading, “We Did It,” reflects both their gratitude for what they see as a Christmas miracle, and their pride in helping in the fight.
“And that’s what we were hoping and praying for. Justin passed away, so he doesn’t get the treatment,” said Woods’ grandmother, Sandy Smith. “But he’s a part of making the treatment happen.”
Following behind the other entries to the parade was Santa Claus, who waved to any and all children that stood in the crowd. Afterwards, he made his way to the Madera Chamber of Commerce building, where the young parade-goers were able to sit on his lap, and share their Christmas wishes with him.
When the event was over, the children left, sporting their candy canes, as the families got ready for Christmas.