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July 27, 2010 > Fremont Festival of the Arts

Fremont Festival of the Arts

By Emma Victoria G. Blanco

Lace up and put on your walking shoes, lather on the sunscreen and head on down to Fremont's annual Festival of the Arts for some serious fun in the sun. Be prepared to spend most of your Saturday (and perhaps your Sunday too) at the largest free street fair west of the Mississippi River. 2010 marks the Festival's 27th anniversary and it promises to be the biggest and best yet.

Come hungry. Indulge in the usual Festival favorites like hot dogs, funnel cakes, kettle corn and barbecue ribs. The popular food booths are once again being operated by local non-profit organizations whose participation has been "at the heart of the community partnership" that is an integral part of the annual weekend event. The non-profit community has taken advantage of their part in the Festival over the past 26 years, raising over $8 million. According to the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, "That money returns to our community through a variety of significant services, improving the quality of life for area residents. In this time of financial hardship, these services are more critical."

Bring the kids: For the third year in a row, the Fremont/Newark YMCA will be setting up Kid City (made possible by the Y's lead sponsor, Washington Township Medical Association).

Be entertained: Free entertainment and music will be playing on two stages at Festival: the Paseo Padre Parkway stage and the State Street stage. Paseo Padre stage performers include The Rising (a Bruce Springsteen tribute band) and Zoo Station (a U2 tribute band). Classic rock bands and a Polynesian dance group (Hula Halau O Nalua & Otea Api) will be performing on the State Street stage. Exact schedule and times can be found online at

Meet a celebrity: Since 2003, NBC Bay Area has been the Festival's prominent sponsor anchoring a prime spot on the corner of Paseo Padre and Capitol. This year, their huge set-up will include the Mission Foods Test Kitchen where celebrity chef Sara Moulton will appear for cooking demonstrations (1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 31). On Sunday, August 1, between 1 and 3 p.m. NBC Bay Area will host a "meet and greet" of Orlando Cepeda, former MLB first baseman and member of the Hall of Fame. Visitors to the Pavilion will also enjoy interactive games such as NBC Football Night in America football toss and Root Beer Pong Tournament; they can have their fortunes told or take salsa dancing lessons as well. "I like it best when there is absolutely no room to move and everyone is 'experiencing' our NBC Bay Area Pavilion," enthused Lance Lew, NBC Bay Area's Director of Community Marketing.

Appreciate art: It's a festival of the arts after all and organizers are expecting over 650 artists and artisans from all over California and the West to showcase their skills and handmade or handcrafted items. It's the perfect opportunity to celebrate and appreciate the quality of art that so many talented artists have produced. "The artistic integrity of our Festival has always been paramount to us," said Cindy Bonior, president and CEO of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. Attendees are sure to find many unique and one-of-a-kind pieces, providing a perfect opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping.

Enjoy a glass of wine: While food and refreshments are available throughout the Festival, those who are looking for a special treat or just want to retreat from the heat and crowds can head over to the Wine Garden. The Wine Garden offers a Festival wine glass, premium wine tasting, catered buffet, VIP parking with in-and-out privileges and a welcome respite in "a secluded, restful and shady area." Tickets are limited, cost $50 per person, and can be purchased online at

Go gourmet. This will be the seventh year that the Festival is featuring the Gourmet Marketplace, where guests can peruse through and sample a variety of unique and specialty foods that they can take home. This year, there are new vendors, including sales of gourmet pet treats (no sampling though because pets are not allowed at the Festival). So don't forget to check out the marketplace, you may just go home with a doggie bag (pun intended).

Be green. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce continues its commitment to make the Festival more environmentally friendly. Over 50 recycling stations will be set up throughout the Festival, and starting this year, food scrap composting will be available to attendees. Green businesses have been invited to promote their eco-friendly services and products and the Chamber has proudly recreated Green Acres, where "sponsors can showcase their green products and services in order to help our community, as a whole, be greener."

The Fremont Festival of the Arts is a fun summer family event, where there is something for everyone to enjoy. "The festival is the most organized, clean festival in the Bay Area," exclaimed Lew. He adds, "[It is] also the easiest one to get to by way of BART." There you go! No excuses. Support talented artists and our local non-profits groups. Come to eat, drink, be entertained, and be merry. We'll see you there.

Fremont Festival of the Arts
Saturday, July 31 and Sunday, August 1
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days

Central Fremont
Between Paseo Padre Pkwy and Fremont Blvd, and between Mowry Ave and Walnut Ave.
Admission: Free

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