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July 30, 2008 > Letter to the editor: A 'question' facing Fremont Fourth of July Parades

Letter to the editor: A 'question' facing Fremont Fourth of July Parades

Should the annual Fremont Fourth of July parades that rotate through the original historic districts of what is now known as the 'City of Fremont,' and are hosted by these individual district community members on a regular rotating schedule year after year:

A: Continue to be rotated through the five major areas of our city to highlight the unique flavor of each original historic township at least once every five years, and to celebrate the business and community groups and organizations of each of those areas into the annual Independence Day parade and allow the greater area community to reach out to sometimes lesser known parts of our city.

OR

B: Should the annual parades settle on a central location and parade route that would always end up at Central Park to highlight our major park feature and new water slides, etc. and so that the greater area community would always know where it is at, and it would always have an after parade set of activities at the park hosted by the rotating district of the year.

OR

C: Should the annual parades continue to be hosted by these individual rotating historic districts - and allow each of those districts to choose the parade route and location and after parade set of activities and venues of their choice that their group best feels capable of doing for that year that they are hosting the event?

AND

Should one district parade steering committee have the ability to form a proposal to the Fremont City Council with the request for a resolution to/from the city council to confirm or decide that they think all parade venues in the future should be according to Plan B above, when this annual major event is now a fully funded, sponsored and organized event put on by the greater area Fremont community (and not by the City of Fremont) and ample input has not likely been sought formally from representatives of all the five original historic districts to see where they stand on this issue?



MY WORD
By Jan Giovannini-Hill

I am one of the primary responsible parties for the initial vision of hosting the Fremont Fourth of July Parade 2003 in the Warm Springs District, after the City almost forgot about this District; and then later was not able to financially support the event due to severe budget cuts. It was taken over by the community. I have some comments about this latest 'Question' regarding the future of the rotating Districts and Parades.

It is understandable that when you bring the same people together who do the majority of the work on a major annual event, that eventually some members of that group are going to start looking for easier or what they might perceive as more efficient ways of doing something; sometimes that easier way may not always be the best way.

Fremont is not like many smaller cities around us (e.g. Dublin, Pleasanton, Mountain View, Newark, or Milpitas, etc) who might have evolved over the years from one original Main Street to what they have become today.

Fremont evolved from these five very unique original Townships with five very unique original Main Street's (alphabetically now known as: Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Niles and Warm Springs) into the huge and wonderful area now known as the City of Fremont. In my opinion, it is still very important to honor and celebrate our historic past of five Townships and the Fremont Fourth of July parade is one of the few annual events that truly attempt to do this. It would be a shame to lose the unique flavor that organizers from the Districts can bring to this annual event when it rotates to their area once every five years.

It is understandable that a couple of the Districts (perhaps Irvington and Centerville) more closely located to the center of town and Central Park, might want to settle on a more permanent home location, route, and set of activities each year around this key physical feature of our City; and it should be their right if they feel that way to orchestrate and organize their annual District parade route how they feel and take advantage of this asset as they see fit - they will be doing the work.

It would be a mistake, however, in my opinion to force all five Districts to be the hosting group once every five years and tell them that they have to follow the central parade route, location and plan of activities that another group has decided is in their opinion the best for all. I highly suspect that the folks in Niles, Mission and Warm Springs would not feel as excited about hosting an annual event in the center of town compared to their own area, yet somehow they are supposed to bring in key elements from their own District or area when it is their year or turn. It is very difficult to get small businesses, non profit community groups and members who might be ten miles away to commit to doing what others have decided is best for you over in the middle of town - just because it is your turn.

Additionally I feel that our annual community sponsored major event that rotates through the original Districts would melt down after a decade or two in the middle of town as it becomes the same old parade, in the same old spot, with the same entries, doing the same activities after the event - and being put on by the same diligent hard workers year after year - and eventually it will fade away as those workers fade away - like the older Fremont Pathfinder Day Parades did years ago.

What is unique and special about rotating to the different Districts is exactly that - a chance to go out and see and experience another historic District of our town each year. It also brings in new community volunteers, and has the opportunity to highlight new businesses and groups in each distinct District. If anything, we need to advertise and market that uniqueness more, rather than less - as we continue this major event in the years to come.

Many of us in Warm Springs are very excited and looking forward to hosting the Fremont Fourth of July Parade 2009 in the Warm Springs District next year down Warm Springs Boulevard and we truly hope that many citizens will mark their calendars now to join us next year on Saturday, July 4th, 2009 in Warm Springs!

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