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July 30, 2008 > Fremont's Festival of the Arts

Fremont's Festival of the Arts

California's largest free street festival returns in August

By Aditya Anand
Photos By Courtesy of Gerry Mooney

It began as the Fremont Art and Wine Festival held at the Hub Shopping Center in 1983. Since then, this tour de force of street fairs has grown in size and attractions to attain a coveted designation as the largest free street celebration west of the Mississippi. Seven years after its inauguration, the festival was renamed "Fremont Festival of the Arts." Relocated to its current home in central Fremont between Paseo Padre Parkway and State Street between Mowry and Walnut avenues, it attracts crowds of an estimated 400,000 visitors.

The festival on Saturday, August 2 and Sunday, August 3, features a palette of colorful activities combined with a slice of fine arts and crafts. A new attraction, Kid City, is an "interactive learning experience" hosted by the YMCA, focusing on parent-child activities, developing healthy lifestyles and good citizenship. Mural painting, pinewood derby car racing, and basketball are among the activities available. The Kid City Bank, Library, and Health Center will share information on making wise financial decisions, improving literacy, and increasing health awareness.

A secluded wine garden offers a pleasant, relaxing retreat for adults including gourmet food and premium wine samples from local vintners. This midday escape from the heat and crowds will be accompanied by a freshly prepared lunch, exclusive entertainment, and exclusive nearby parking. The wine garden experience is priced at $50 per person per day.

Business Alley, a perennial favorite of festival attendees, will highlight local business with fun and innovative displays and prizes. Retail, service and organizations will present their products at this roadside tradeshow. The Gourmet Marketplace will also return to sell popular packaged food and gifts. Gourmet honey, garlic dips, marinades, BBQ sauces, and olive oils will be on sale. In addition to these venues, nearly 700 arts and crafts vendors are expected to set up shop along festival streets.

Two stages will be filled with free, live music and entertainment at different locations of the four miles of festival. The list of entertainers include music of the Sun Kings, who channel "spot-on arrangements and vocal harmonies" of The Beatles to jazz, blues and country bands. The Jukebox Heroes, a San Francisco based band, will be present to energize the festivities with dynamic dance numbers.

For those seeking new and interesting cuisine at the festival, a culinary cornucopia awaits. Apart from the standard fare of hot dogs, lemonade and ice cream, vendors will be selling kabobs, lumpia, linguica sandwiches, sushi, burritos, Cajun ribs, Chinese BBQ pork buns, satay, pizza, pearl tea, churros, and strawberry shortcake. With the wide variety of attractions, entertainment, and food, it is certain that this California tradition will please even the most discerning of palates.

Many people from locations far from this area mark their calendars months in advance to reserve the dates of the Fremont Festival of the Arts. This large gathering of artisans and vendors has become a California institution. What others drive hundreds of miles to experience is within walking, biking or a short drive for local citizens. This is a major festival in our own backyard, not to be missed!

For more information and directions, visit

Fremont Festival of the Arts
Saturday and Sunday, August 2 and 3
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Paseo Padre Ave. to State St.
between Mowry Ave. and Walnut Ave., Fremont
(510) 795-2244

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