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November 5, 2008 > Union City celebrates 50th anniversary

Union City celebrates 50th anniversary

By Simon Wong

January 26, 2009, will be the 50th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the City of Union City.

Almost two years in the planning, celebratory events are scheduled throughout next year for the community and visitors. Commemorative pins and mugs and books recounting the City's history are already on sale.

The year-long celebration will commence on December 31, 2008, with two New Year's Eve gala functions.

The Black & White Ball at the Union City Sports Center, transformed by professional party planners, will be a formal dinner-dance and silent auction and performances by "The Groove Doctors." Tickets are available at $150 per person. Great interest has already been shown by businesses, civic and community leaders.

On the other side of town, the Crowne Plaza Hotel will be the venue for a Masquerade Party with live popular music from "Savoir Faire," a house DJ and festive hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are available at $75 per person.

Start-up funds approved by the City Council in 2006 plus proceeds from memorabilia sales, the silent auction at the Black & White Ball and sponsorship from businesses and individuals will help support the twelve-month calendar of public events. Surplus funds will be donated to non-profits.

January 26, 2009, will see the re-enactment of the Official Incorporation of the City at Barnard White Middle School (formerly Henry Barnard White Jr. High School) where the first City Council Meeting was held in 1959. Union City's currently-elected officials will reprise the roles of the City's founders and a time capsule will be prepared for the City's 100th Anniversary.

February 8, 2009, will celebrate the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Ox. The Sports Center will host a family event with Lion and Dragon Dances, martial arts demonstrations, live music, food and games. Guests of Honor will travel from the Hangzhou Youth and Cultural Activity Center, Union City's "Sister Center" in China.

May 16, 2009, will see the 50th Anniversary Parade and Car Show. This beloved piece of Americana will be the City's first big parade in a decade. The procession of floats, marching bands, horses and drill teams will end at the Kennedy Community Center where there will be a display of vintage and classic cars and trucks and futuristic concept cars. This event is free.

The City will celebrate its religious diversity on June 27, 2009, with an ecumenical, Faith-Based Festival at Kennedy Park. The celebration will be presented jointly by Union City's Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh Gudwaras and Muslim churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and many other faiths. There will be traditional dance, music and food. This event is free.

On July 18, 2009, Kennedy Park will be the venue for the Gathering in the Park - Celebrating 50 Years of Community. Professional and local performers will reflect the City's cultural diversity. There will be food, artisans, exchange of information and the unveiling of the Community Mosaic Mural. This is a free event.

September 12 & 13, 2009 will feature a two-day 50th Anniversary Festival for all ages. The venue has yet to be determined. Visitors can enjoy professional and local entertainers, games, arts and crafts booths, food, a Wine Garden hosted by the Union City Chamber of Commerce and a fireworks display.

Historical Tours and Lectures will be available throughout the year. Local historian Tim Swenson will present at libraries and in schools. Guided bus and walking tours of historic sites in the Decoto and Alvarado districts will also be arranged. The 50th Anniversary Historical Booklet will be published by the end of 2008 and available in the New Year.

A Sports Showcase Series will consist of approximately ten events during 2009. Tournaments and activities, such as a Fun Run, soccer, baseball, basketball, cricket and more, are planned. The events are primarily for youth though there will be some activities for adults, too. Participants will receive UC50 trophies and ribbons. These events are free.

The year-long celebration will conclude with a New Year's Eve Anniversary Year-End Gala on December 31, 2009, and a revue of how Union City commemorated its first half-century. The time capsule will be sealed.

Affiliated events will also take place in 2009. There will be a Rotary Lunar New Year Dinner in February, a Veterans' Memorial Park Commemoration on July 4, the Fall Festival of the Arts in September, James Logan High School Homecoming in October/November and an all-year exhibition at the Union City Library.

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