by Scott Wong, Staff Writer
February 1, 2005
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
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
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
Volunteers say they hope the
commemoration brings together and forges new
partnerships between various segments of the
"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
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
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
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
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
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
www.celebratefremont.org or e-mail
Staff writer Scott Wong covers the city
of Fremont for The Argus. He can be reached
at (510) 353-7002 or