Extreme Makeover

Extreme Makeover: Fresno Viewing Parties

Monday, March 09, 2009

People all over the Valley celebrated Sunday night's Extreme Makeover, Home Edition show with tears and laughter.

There were several viewing parties Sunday night.

Months of anticipation has all led up to this. "If you like this house, you outta give a hug to jerry and Paula over at De Young Properties and their whole crew because they did an amazing job."

Mary Ann Riojas and her four children spent Sunday night at the Bridge Evangelical Free church, watching themselves and thousands of volunteers build them a dream home on Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. "It was moving. I cried through the whole thing. It was just touching to see the whole thing just see what was going on while we were gone."

"When we first saw the house, I was like, oh my god. Basically right there when you saw me open up my mouth, that was not fake. That was for real."

In front of Mary Ann's new home, neighbors threw their own viewing party.

Even after the show airs, they say the entire experience will be everlasting. "We'll just think about it happened here in Fresno, it can happen anywhere and hopefully there's still opportunities here in town to take advantage of all the skills and volunteers and all the donations. I know there's still a lot of good that needs to be done."

And in River Park, people who have never even met the Riojas family attended a viewing party at the World Sports Cafe. It was organized by Diane Fischer, who was at the Extreme Makeover set everyday, serving as a volunteer. "When you see it on tv, you just say wow, that's weird, but when it really happens in front of you, it's really cool."

But for the Riojas family, it's what they saw on TV that has touched them in a way that will be with them forever. "It was amazing just how the community came together for us."

"Well I guess there's only one thing left to say is welcome home Riojas family."

The Riojas family is still in touch with the show's producers. Mary Ann Riojas said they have offered to help her with whatever else she needs to get settled into their new home.

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