March 2, 2004 > Let Freedom Ring!
Let Freedom Ring!
by Praveena Raman
The Fremont Exchange Club, a non-profit service organization, formed in 2003, has taken on the July 4th parade as its project this year. Together with residents of Ardenwood and the 2004 parade steering committee they are proud to host the Independence Day parade on Sunday July 4th, 2004. The parade will march on Fremont Blvd. from Tamayo to American High School. The theme of the parade is "Let Freedom Ring".
In 1999, the July 4th parade was hosted by the City of Fremont in the Mission District. The parade that year and in the years replaced an annual firework display. The intention of the organizers had been to rotate the parade through the five historic districts of Mission San Jose, Irvington, Centerville, Niles and Warm Springs. In year 2000, the parade was organized in Irvington, Centerville in 2001 and in 2002, Niles. Last year, the organizing committee met with community members from Warm Springs to start planning for the parade. Unfortunately a few weeks later, with severe budget cuts looming, the City removed funding for the project.
Warm Springs residents, under the able guidance of resident Jan Giovanini-Hill, decided to go ahead as a community driven event. Initially it was an uphill task. Deadlines had to be met without much time to raise the money. Warm Springs Rotary Club acted as the Treasurer for that event. Boston Scientific Corporation stepped to the plate and donated $25,000. With that the momentum, Warm Springs hosted a wonderful patriotic parade with an attendance of over 10,000 people and over 90 entries.
This year, community members from Ardenwood under co-chairs John Smith and Bernadette Chinn are making preparations for another parade. The Exchange club is acting as the parade Treasurer. With tripling costs of police and city maintenance, the committee must raise funds to cover a budget of $50,000. The Warm Springs parade committee has pledged to give $4,000, left over from last year, as seed money. The committee has received $10,000 from Boston Scientific, $5000 from Fremont Bank, $2,500 from Fremont Flowers, and $12,000 from individual donors. With about $33,000 pledged and contributed they still have to raise $17,000. "We are hopeful that more businesses will come forward with contributions and help make this parade a huge success," says John Smith, Co-Chair of the parade steering committee.
The committee will be aided in their planning by Ray Pulver of Upbeat Parade Productions. Boy Scouts have volunteered their services to help with the clean up after the parade. Our local Fire Fighters Union has inquired about contributing towards meeting expenses. To date, about 94 volunteers are helping with parade planning. 150 volunteers will be needed on the day of the parade. The committee encourages all Fremont community members to get involved in the parade, making it an all- Fremont community event. Invitations and applications for parade entries are being mailed out the first week of March. A Grand Marshal for the parade will also be selected this month. The steering committee will be holding a float building seminar for the community in April. Friendly competitions among the participants will be encouraged by having awards for the "Most Patriotic Spirit" and the "Most Patriotic Decorated Float/Vehicle".
"We are very excited about hosting the 4th of July parade in the North End of Fremont," says John Smith, "And we are confident that between the business community and the individuals who step up, we can put on the best parade that Fremont has ever seen."
The parade steering committee meets once a month. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday March 11th, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Los Cerritos Community Center, 3377 Alder Avenue, Fremont.
Donations for the parade are tax-deductible and should be sent to:
CA-NV District Exchange Club Charitable Foundation/Parade 2004
c/o The Exchange Club,
39275 State Street
Fremont, CA 94538.
(Tax ID #95-4568283)
For more information about the parade contact John Smith at (510) 207-9057 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bernadette Chinn at (510) 299-1309 or by email at email@example.com.