August 1, 2006 > Something for everyone
Something for everyone
by Todd Griffin
The Fremont Festival of the Arts returns for its 23rd season on Aug. 5 and 6. As in past years, the Festival will offer activities for every family member. Boasting over 700 artists and craftspeople from around the county and locally too, it is one of the largest and most diverse events in California. The festival is a juried show, meaning each vendor must be approved by independent judging. Only truly handcrafted items are allowed.
Food booths will reflect the diversity of Fremont itself. In addition to traditional favorites such as hot dogs, ribs, ice cream, and popcorn, a broad range of ethnic cuisine will be available. All food booths promote nonprofit organizations and will be staffed by volunteers. Purchases will help fund scholarships, day camps for kids, and medical research among other causes.
The sounds of country-western, rock, blues and Motown will waft over the festival from two live stages, enticing visitors to sit and listen for a while. Some hot local talent will be featured, including Prairie Band, Parrot Heads, Best Intentions, and the Tommy Castro Band.
Kids will find plenty to do, with the Kid Zone on Liberty Street featuring puppet shows and storytelling this year, in addition to perennial favorites - rides, games, and bounce houses.
For the adults, about a dozen wineries will be on hand this year, from as near as Livermore Valley and Napa/Sonoma, and as far away as Australia. The 2006 festival wine glass is included with each wine purchase. Entrance to the Wine Garden, where more upscale wines are poured by winery staff, may be purchased for $50. Wine Garden admission includes unlimited wine tasting, a buffet lunch, and preferred parking.
The Firefighter Combat Challenge returns again this year. Individual trials are Saturday, as firefighters from across the U.S. and Canada vie to qualify for the worldwide competition. Sunday, team events are scheduled. The Challenge is always a popular spectator event.
Business Alley is both a trade show and an opportunity for local merchants to showcase their products and services to a large audience. Only Fremont Chamber of Commerce member businesses participate. Festival-goers may browse with confidence as they are dealing with companies rooted in the community.
Cindy Bonoir, president and CEO of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, shouldered the monumental task of organizing the festival, as she has for several years. Asked what's new this year, she emphasized sponsorship of the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence campaign. In addition, she mentioned a new ticketing scheme for wine. "This year we have a starter pack, a one-glass, two-pour ticket, that includes coupons from local merchants as well."
With any endeavor of this magnitude, safety must be the primary concern. That includes smart design, an adequate security presence, medical assistance and checking IDs. "We are very committed to having a safe festival," asserted Bonoir. "There is zero tolerance for underage drinking. It's part of our commitment to the community."
To see the entire festival requires at least four miles of walking, and return visitors will recall it can get quite hot. Dress appropriately, drink plenty of fluids, and have a great time!
Fremont Festival of the Arts
August 5 and 6
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Central Fremont (Paseo Padre Parkway at Walnut Avenue)
Two free music stages featuring hot bands
Paseo Padre Stage - Mowry Ave and Paseo Padre Parkway
Saturday 11 a.m. - Noon, Janet Lee Myatt, Americana
12:30 - 2:00 p.m. - Leroy Bell, Blues
2:30 - 4:00 p.m. - Jukebox Heroes, Classic Rock
4:30 - 6:00 p.m. - Best Intentions Motown Tribute, Motown
11 a.m. - Noon - New Albany Trio, Americana
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. - Kiff, Pop
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. - Garrett Wilkins & Parrotheads, Jimmy Buffet Tribute
4:00 - 5:30 p.m. - Tommy Castro, Blues
State Street Stage - State Street and Beacon Avenue
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Dave Land, Blues
12:45 - 2 p.m. - Dave Land, Blues
2:30 - 3:45 p.m. - Driving Force, Classic Rock/Blues
4:15 - 5:30 p.m. - Driving Force, Classic Rock/Blues
11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Outta Nowhere, Jazz
12:45 - 2:00 p.m. - Outta Nowhere, Jazz
2:30 - 3:45 p.m. - Prairie Band, Country