July 29, 2009 > Fremont festival heats up summer
Fremont festival heats up summer
By Julie Grabowski
Photos By Gerry Mooney
August comes to Fremont in a celebratory burst as the 26th Fremont Festival of the Arts kicks off the first two days of the month. Holding the title of the largest free street festival west of the Mississippi, the festival occupies over 4 miles of city streets and draws approximately 385,000 people each year. Fremont Chamber of Commerce CEO and Festival Director Cindy Bonior says the festival has become very important to the area. "It serves as a fundraiser to benefit nonprofits and brings a lot of business into Fremont, which is especially critical this year. The festival is free and offers something for everyone," says Bonior. "There's a lot of stuff going on."
Over 650 artisans display their talents in photography, glassware, pottery, leather goods, painted furniture, jewelry, carved wood, embroidery and more. Only handmade or handcrafted items are allowed; nothing mass-produced or manufactured, which guarantees unique and interesting items for every taste.
Three entertainment stages will deliver live music from a broad mix of groups, including Abba tribute band "Waterloo," and Journey tribute band "Evolution Plan." Cajun ribs, linguica sandwiches, burritos, sushi, pizza, Hawaiian BBQ, lumpia, and garlic fries are just a few of the tantalizing food options from 30 booths run by local non-profit organizations. And for those with a sweeter palate, ice cream, churros, kettlecorn, and strawberry shortcake will also be on the menu. Amateur chefs should head over to the Gourmet Marketplace, which offers marinades, olive oils, spice rubs, garlic dips, honey, and BBQ sauces to liven up any meal.
The Joyce Twomey Memorial Wine Garden sponsored by GROCO provides a relaxing getaway from the crowds and heat, offering premium wines from local wineries, gourmet food, and private entertainment. Named after longtime festival volunteer and board member Joyce Twomey, the garden honors her memory and many contributions throughout the years. Twomey lost her battle with cancer last year, shortly after her last outing to the festival. The garden is open from noon to 5 p.m. each day, with preferred parking for advance purchase ticket holders. Tickets cost $50 and may be purchased before the festival by calling the Chamber of Commerce at (510) 795-2244.
The smaller set has their own private festival in Kid City which will formally open with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Saturday by the Mayor and City Council of Kid City. Managed by Fremont/Newark YMCA, this pint-sized community offers various activities that focus on teaching kids about citizenship and healthy lifestyles. They can visit Kid City's bank, library, health center, city hall, and fire station, and become citizens after completing certain tasks and games. A giant slide, Ferris wheel, and a trackless train will be among the rides; music, magic acts, juggling, and dance numbers from local troupes will perform on the Kid City stage.
In addition to Kid City, State Street also hosts Business Alley where festival goers can learn about great local services and products provided by Chamber of Commerce members. Joly Chiropractic, Club Sport, Half Price Books, Newark Pet Clinic, Steele Model and Talent Management, Avon, and City Beach are just some of those participating. "It's my job to make opportunities for our members," says Bonior. "Our mission is to support community."
And a great community atmosphere is what you can expect from the Fremont Festival of the Arts as friends, neighbors, and strangers mingle under the summer sun. "It's a great way to spend your weekend without spending a lot of money," says Bonior. Be sure to bring picture ID if you plan to drink, and have some cash on hand as not all vendors accept credit cards. No pets are allowed at the festival. Parking is available on side streets and for a fee in some city lots. Public transportation is always encouraged; the BART station is just two blocks from the event and local buses all stop at the station.
Fremont Festival of the Arts
Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Paseo Padre Pkwy at Mowry Ave.