October 4, 2005 > Fall Festival of the Arts
Fall Festival of the Arts
Union City's multicultural diversity in action
by Natalia Smothers
This Saturday, Oct. 8, the Old Alvarado Park in Union City will be the setting not only for the traditional Saturday Farmers' Market but also for the Fall Festival of the Arts. This is the second year for the festival which is expected to be an annual event.
Urban Sounds, the DJ group of recent graduates from James Logan High School, will open the festival at 9 a.m. The music stage will change every hour or so and feature the Lime Rickey Quartet from Fremont and Pep Sounds from Union City. A group of friends from Newark called Down the Road will play classic rock in the afternoon after the performance of Chinese dance group from Union City.
"We focus on exposing mostly local artists and performers," said Diane La Mountaine, member of two local organizations- Union City Friends and Art Association of East Bay. "With support of Union City Leisure Services, Paddy's Cafˇ and the Lions Club of Union City, we have a diverse cultural program at this year's festival." There will be over 20 booths presenting creative photography, oil paintings, watercolor, mixed media, custom jewelry, pottery, wood crafts and local businesses including food and wine booths. Logan High School students will also participate with a multicultural art display. "The Fall Festival is going to be bigger and better than our first event last year!"
For the second time, the festival will host one of Union City's art stars - Enrique Romero. Even though Romero moved to South Lake Tahoe in early 2004, he often comes back for a visit. His two huge Mexican styled wall murals in are still part of the Union City culture: one inside the thrift store at the Centro Servicios on H Street and another on the SBC building on Mission Boulevard in Union City. His latest paintings were on display at Paddy's Coffee House in May of this year. He is bringing new artwork for the Fall Festival of the Arts.
"I enjoy showing my work at festivals," said Romero. "I think most artists create their paintings with special love and spirit. It is a healing process both for the painter and the person looking at the artwork. It is always a pleasure to see a variety of reactions on the same painting."
Support of art development among the large Latino population in Union City has been growing steadily over the years. The city of Union City has formed an arts council, A.R.T.E., a local community organization that has mostly Spanish-speaking members, to promote a better look of city streets. Finally, the long-discussed idea of the annual arts festival was successfully launched last year.
"I think the Festival of the Arts has been long overdue in our city," said Paddy Iyer, owner of Paddy's Coffee House on Smith Street in Union City. "Our part of town doesn't have many art displays like some districts in Fremont, for example. When I opened my coffee shop over two years ago, I did it with a goal of giving exposure to local talents. I have local bands playing regularly at my shop. Diane [La Mountaine] from Union City Friends selects a new artist every six weeks to display on the walls of the coffee shop. Many of these works have been sold. I am glad I also have the chance to help with the Fall Festival of the Arts."
Union City Friends decided to hold the festival in the fall to avoid competition with the big summer festivals in the Bay Area. "Since we are just starting this new festival in Union City, we expect to have close to 1,000 guests," said La Mountaine. "I think our festival for the second year in the row will have a nice comfortable feel to it - perfect for leisurely time with a family in the park and some early holiday shopping."
Several local restaurants will offer a variety of cuisine in the food booths at the festival. The wine will come from selected wineries in Northern California.
Special "fun house" attractions will be at the festival just for kids along with face painting and hair braiding.
The festival is free to the public thanks to local sponsors Tri-CED Community Recycling, Marcel Miranda, Tri-City Voice, Aborn Veterinary Hospital, PennySaver and Kinko's. All proceeds go back into the fund to continue the event and support the arts. For more information, please contact call (510) 477-9459.
Fall Festival of the Arts
Saturday, October 8
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Old Alvarado Park, West Union City