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

Ideas for Fremont's 50th well beyond party games

by Scott Wong, Staff Writer
Fremont Argus
February 1, 2005

Some are predictable.

A student essay or poster contest, for example. Some are daunting, such as a marathon through town. And others are a little zany.

Bob Wasserman bobblehead dolls, anyone?

Those are just a few of the 500 ideas put forth by politicians, students and representatives from local ethnic, youth sports, service, religious and business groups to commemorate the city's 50th birthday. 

More than 100 community members representing a broad cross-section of the community packed a meeting room at the Fremont Main Library on Monday night with the common goal of laying the groundwork for what is expected to be the biggest celebration in the city's history.

In the weeks ahead, organizers will pare the list of 500 ideas down to a manageable few, working out other details along the way.

Will the celebration be held over the course of a weekend, or will it be a yearlong observance? Where will the main event be held? And how much will it all cost?

Volunteers say they hope the commemoration brings together and forges new partnerships between various segments of the community.

"Fremont is a microcosm of where America will be in the future," said Sam Rao, a 12-year Mission Valley neighborhood resident who organizes Indian dance performances at the library. "This is just an opportunity for people to come together."

The concept for a golden year event began as a conversation among just a few residents, said Irene Koehler, chair of the celebration's executive steering committee.

"It germinated from the community, it's being led by the community, and our aim is for it to reflect the community," she said.

City Council members said a decision to give $10,000 in seed money to celebration efforts, despite hard financial times, would prompt the private sector to open up its pocketbook.

It's worked so far.

A spokeswoman from New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., Fremont's largest employer, told the crowd Monday that the car maker is pledging to match the city's contribution.

Also at the meeting, Fremont graphic designer Doug Tinney unveiled the event's logo, "Celebrating Our Past, Creating Our Future," which soon will be gracing fliers, posters and ads promoting the event.

It features a large "50" against a backdrop of two of the city's most prominent landmarks: Central Park's Lake Elizabeth and Mission Peak.

Five stars emanating as rays of sunlight represent the five original townships that came together on Jan. 23, 1956, to form Fremont. And the logo is framed by a mission arch symbolic of the city's proud mission heritage.

While organizers will look largely to older residents for historical perspectives on the 50th anniversary, young people will play an equally crucial role in the event's planning, said Richard Ho, student body president at American High School.

"There are so many talents that young people have, from the arts to technology," said Ho, 17, who also serves as the student representative on the Fremont school board. "Schools are one of the best places to grab participants."

Koehler, a Fremont business consultant who also chairs the city's Human Relations Commission, says that with the celebration, the community has a rare opportunity to create something new and different.

"I'm not sure what it will look like in the end, but I just know it will be special," Koehler said.

For information, log on to or e-mail

Staff writer Scott Wong covers the city of Fremont for The Argus. He can be reached at (510) 353-7002 or


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