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Creating a legacy for tomorrow by cherishing our past and
connecting with our present

Fremont's Golden Begins With Gala

by Chris De Benedetti, Staff Writer
Fremont Argus
January 19, 2006

FREMONT THE TENT IS UP. The tickets are sold out. And Fremont is ready to kick up its heels.

A fund-raising gala Friday at Central Park will kick off a nearly yearlong slate of events in celebration of the city's 50th birthday.

The city's anniversary commemoration will culminate in a free-admission main event Sept. 9 and 10, which will be partly funded with proceeds from Friday's $175-a-ticket gala, event co-chair Fran Stone said.

The 700 attendees will be taking part in one of the city's historical moments, gala co-chair Maria Rogers said, adding: "We've waited 50 years forthis special evening."

"We feel our town has evolved from those five townships that were spread out, and now we are one with a diverse community," Stone said. "We do have pride (in Fremont), and we're happy to be a part of it."

The party, which is black tie optional, will be held under a spacious carpeted tent with a French-door entry and a cathedral ceiling, organizers said. Although rain and cloudy skies have threatened all week as finishing touches were done on the tent, the National Weather Service forecast for Friday night calls for dry skies.

The event is a way to thank major donors who have contributed to the celebration, Vice Mayor Steve Cho said. "It is also engaging the community to participate in the occasion," he added.

More anniversary events are scheduled in the coming week, including a free open house from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday also in the tent at Central Park, where Mayor Bob Wasserman will preside over the cutting of the city's anniversary cake. Later that night, the City Council will hold a special midnight meeting that will begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday to commemorate the city's first City Council meeting, held at the same time Jan. 23, 1956, almost exactly 50 years ago.

"I'm not sure any business will be conducted it wouldn't really be fair to people because it's really not convenient (for people to come)," Cho said.

"It's more of a symbolic representation of celebrating and kicking off the (city's) next half-century."

William O'Donnell, 81, said he moved to his Fremont home in 1954, back when his section of town was called Centerville and there seemingly were more cauliflower fields and orchards than people. Homes could be bought for little more than $10,000 back then, and the city's population in the mid-1950s barely topped 5,000, O'Donnell recalls.

Caleb Brown, who also was born in 1956, like his native hometown, wrote in an e-mail to The Argus this week that he has very fond memories of growing up in Fremont.

"I still miss the days of my youth in the Warm Springs and Mission San Jose districts," wrote Brown, who now lives in the South Bay. "I consider myself fortunate to have grown up along with Fremont.

"I doubt even the wisest and most clairvoyant of the city planners could have predicted how far those small towns would progress in the next 50 years."

Staff writer Chris De Benedetti can be reached at (510) 353-7002 or

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