Paradise stands together through church efforts


Fair goers enjoy games as the sun sets on Paradise. Photo credit: Melissa Joseph

Paradise Alliance Church held a free event Saturday night, welcoming residents to enjoy carnival games, a petting zoo and live art.

The event, We Stand Together, welcomed anyone in the area who has been affected emotionally or physically by the fire, encouraging visitors to pray and enjoy themselves throughout the night.

A free petting zoo consisting of bunny, ponies and more. Photo credit: Melissa Joseph

“This event is about recognizing what happened behind us while looking ahead to all the amazing things that are and will be happening here on the ridge,” a church representative said.

The parking lot of the church was filled with families excited to let loose and take their shots at any of the multiple carnival games. As groups of children ran around, adults mingled to discuss the past year and their lives after the Camp Fire.

At the center of the fair, artist Shane Grammer painted a live mural on mock rubble to mimic his earlier murals painted on the remains of Paradise. Grammer was covered head to toe in paint splatter as he spray painted a woman in black and white while being watched by hundreds of people as they passed by.

Shane Grammer's live mural artwork. Photo credit: Melissa Joseph

Grammer’s inspiration to paint women on rubble in Paradise came from a post his friends shared on Facebook of their chimney standing alone, among piles of brick and rebar. The shocking image inspired Grammer and he rushed to paint on the structure.

Almost all of Grammer’s murals are of soft-faced women, which he says are inspired by the book “Song of Solomon” in the Bible, which is a tale of endless love. Grammer explained how he relays the “Song of Solomon” into his artwork, telling viewers that Jesus loves them and to keep faith.

This was a recurring theme throughout the fair as Paradise Alliance Church introduced two featured guests speakers, Justin Flom and retired football player Tim Tebow, both of whom are known for their strong faith. The speakers shared their experiences with adversity and offered words of hope to uplift the recovering community of Paradise.

As the night came to a close, families left the grounds with tired children and smiling faces, fulfilled by the community efforts of the church.

Melissa Joseph can be reached at [email protected]