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December 5, 2017 > Winterfest brings holiday spirit to Old Alvarado

Winterfest brings holiday spirit to Old Alvarado

By Zoya Hajee

Union CityÕs Old Alvarado area has a deep historical background that the community strives to preserve. The area, once the location of the largest sugar beet refinery in the United States, served as a port for supplying agricultural products and drinking water. A prosperous Chinatown, was covered in flowers such as carnations, roses, and gladiolas. Today, this tight-knit neighborhood is home to a farmersÕ market, dance studios, a sports center, an elementary and middle school, a mosque, and so much more. The Old Alvarado area continues to thrive and bring the community together with increasing support from the Alvarado Historic District Merchants Association (AHDMA).

In the fall of 2012, City of Union City staff, residents, and Economic Development Advisory team volunteers began searching for a way to build a strong support system for merchants and business owners of Old Alvarado. With formation of AHDMA on June 12, 2014, a renewed focus on preservation of the historical background of Old Alvarado was combined with promoting the areaÕs diversity and sponsoring local events.

Organized by AHDMA president Adrienne Realiza and members Jennifer Phipps and Tina Nishihira, the ÒAlvarado WinterfestÓ marks the areaÕs third annual Christmas tree lighting event. ÒItÕs been a really fun way to bring our local community together,Ó said Realiza. Ò[Attendees will] enjoy the talent, goods and services by our local crafters, food, and entertainment, all provided by those that live or have businesses in Union City or near our community.Ó

The celebration will be held on Saturday, December 9 at Old Alvarado Park. Besides the Christmas tree lighting, the evening will consist of performances by various groups including Viva Gala Kids Hip Hop, Alvarado Elementary Choir, Itliong-Vera Cruz Choir, and Logan High School Choir. Attendees can also enjoy the goods and services provided by vendors such as LulaRoe, Lipsense, Scentsy Candles, The Beauty Bar, The GrilledCheezGuy, and more. In the spirit of the holidays, hot cocoa and cookies will be available as well. Children can participate in activities such as arts and crafts, and a visit from Santa. The Alameda County Fire Department will have a crew attending the event to accept donations for their Firefighters Holiday Toy Drive. Attendees are encouraged to bring a toy, and those who donate to the drive will receive a ticket for a raffle.

A registered non-profit organization, AHDMA allows the Old Alvarado area to continue to flourish. ÒI joined AHDMA because I wanted a way to network for my business and do things for the community,Ó Realiza said. ÒIt's been a lot of work, but we've gone so far! I also love hearing what life was like when the area had just fields of flowers. We've got a great historic area, great people who live here, and a great AHDMA team!Ó

Events such as the Alvarado Winterfest create a sense of unity among members of the community, and the public continues to look forward to events like these that create memories for families to cherish.

Alvarado Winterfest
Saturday, Dec 9
3 p.m. Ð 7 p.m.
Old Alvarado Park
3871 Smith St, Union City
(510) 378-6376

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