John Rieping/The Madera Tribune
Madera Mayor Andy Medellin signs a proclamation declaring National Night Out during the kickoff event Tuesday evening in front of the Madera County Courthouse Museum as officials standby.
Thousands of Madera residents, area law enforcement and government officials braved the evening heat this week for National Night Out parties, which were block-wide Tuesday and city-wide Thursday at the Madera District Fairgrounds.
Around 40-50 block parties were held Tuesday across the city, and New Harvest Christian Fellowship may have hosted one of the largest ones with two huge inflatable slides, a large potluck and barbecue, snow cones, popcorn, live music and a fire engine. Pastor Tim Echevarria said church members “chipped in” to make it all happen.
“It’s been doing something beautiful within the community and also within the church too,” said Echevarria, who is also a Neighborhood Watch commander in his own neighborhood. “So I love it. It just keeps getting bigger every year for us too. It’s a beautiful time for outreach (and) to connect.”
Those in the area were initially wary of hanging out with law enforcement and other officials for National Night Out, he said, but they came to embrace it and realized “they’re there to help you. They don’t want to lock you up … They care. It’s been really a blessing for us.”
Maggie and Matt Stickler, who moved into their historic home three years ago, started hosting a National Night Out block party in 2016 in an attempt to better know their neighbors.
“Ever since last year’s National Night Out, we’ve all met as neighbors about 10 more times,” Maggie Stickler said, “and…
click here to read more.