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May 13, 2009 > Union City Hosts All-Day Festivities

Union City Hosts All-Day Festivities

By Simon Wong

Union City proudly hosts its 50th Anniversary Parade, a Classic Car Show and the 16th Asian-American Heritage Festival on Saturday, May 16. All events are free.

The parade has almost 70 entries, including 14 floats, 5 marching bands, 10 ft - 50 ft balloons, specialty groups, ranging from the Family of Clowns to the United States Army Color Guard, and equestrian groups. Classic cars will be part of the line-up.

"This is the first of our big celebrations," said Helen Kennedy, Chair of UC50. "Union City organizes parades every ten years. This will be our best yet."

Grand Marshal Vicky Galindo, James Logan High School alumnus and 2008 Olympic women's' softball silver medallist, and the James Logan Marching Band and Color Guard will lead the parade. The band usually marches in large events like the Rose Parade and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade so this is a chance to see them in action.

There are four Honorary Grand Marshals. Heidi Kitayama, the City's own "Martha Washington" and wife of the first Mayor, Tom Kitayama, Al Rose, founding father and first Assistant Fire Chief, Annie Nieves Morales, first Maid of Union City (1960) and Pat Wittler McNamara, first Queen of Union City (1960).

The parade (10 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.) will start at Dowe Ave, head eastbound along the James Logan High School-side of Alvarado-Niles Rd and end at H St. Visitors should not use the median as a vantage point. See sidebar for parking and street closures.

The Classic Car Show (9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.) at Charles F. Kennedy Park, Decoto Rd, will showcase 100 cars and motorbikes owned by members of Brake-Away A's Model A Ford Club, Los Lobos Car Club, Royal Cruisers, Bay Area Bombs and Island Thunder Motorcycle Club. Union City Lions Club has organized a Texas Roadhouse barbecue. There will be music, children's games, the new playground and a raffle. Awards will be presented at 3.00 p.m.

"About a thousand participants and volunteers and our sponsors' and donors' generosity have made this day possible," said Helen Kennedy appreciatively. The parade budget was $75,000.

The 16th Asian-American Heritage Festival (12.30 p.m. - 5.00 p.m.) is a UC50-affiliated event at the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church, 32975 Alvarado-Niles Rd. Local residents from Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and other Asian-Pacific countries will perform live dance and music. Cultural displays, commercial booths, food and refreshments will be available.

"May 16 is a great opportunity to combine not only cultures but events in Union City. There will be something for everyone," said Human Relations Commissioner Lee Guio. The Heritage Festival has a few remaining stalls for anyone wishing to participate. Contact John Hsieh (510 784 7341) or Lee Guio (408 888 8413) for details.

The organizers of Union City's 50th Anniversary celebrations need the community's continued support. Visit for details about planned events, volunteer opportunities, sponsorship and donations. Commemorative items are available online, at Paddy's Coffee Shop and at UC50 events.

Union City Parade, Car Show and Asian Festival
Saturday, May 16

Car Show: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Kennedy Park (Decoto Rd.)
Parade: 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Alvarado-Niles Rd.
Festival: 12:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
32975 Alvarado-Niles Rd.

Street Closures

Diversions and closures will last from 9.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.

Dowe, Western and Central Avenues closed between Alvarado-Niles Rd and Pacific St and open beyond. The DaVita Union City Dialysis Center can be reached by speaking to the parade officials in the immediate vicinity.

The other side of Alvarado-Niles Rd will carry two-way traffic (one lane in each direction) with diversions at Hop Ranch Rd to Meyers Drive (eastbound) and Meyers Drive to Hop Ranch Rd (westbound). No left turns onto Alvarado-Niles Rd from Central, Royal Anne or Dowe.

H St closed between Alvarado-Niles Rd and Syracuse Ave. Syracuse closed between H St and Hartnell St. The Alvarado-Niles Rd end of Sherman Drive, Hartnell St and H St will be blocked.


Handicapped parking is located in Central Ave. VIP guest parking is in Central Ave between Pacific St and the review stand or in lots off Central Ave, accessible via Pacific St. VIP guests in the parade may park in the US Cold Storage area.

Spectators are encouraged to park within the Central Bay Industrial Park (accessible from the other end of Western Ave) and elsewhere within the City. Parking at James Logan is unavailable. 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected.

Rest Room Locations

Dowe Industrial Park, Central Ave and James Logan High School.

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