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Creating a legacy for tomorrow by cherishing our past and
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50th Anniversary Party Building Volunteer, Financial Bases

Organizers already busy preparing for Sept 9-10, 2006

By Ian Bauer, Fremont Bulletin, April 2005

The largest party in Fremont history starts Sept. 9, 2006 to mark the city's 50th anniversary of incorporation.

Celebrate Fremont, the anniversary's one-time only organizing group, is currently pulling the two-day event together, an effort that will include needed community volunteers and fundraising.

"We're not an organization that can draw on what we've done last year," Irene Koehler, Celebrate Fremont's executive committee chair, said of a group that formed this year.

Koehler said the group must rely on as many people as possible to be involved in small groups or teams that comprise the non-profit organization.

The groups cover city history, fundraising, technology, schools, and special-event organization, as the teams currently hold planning meetings.

Though the city was formally incorporated Jan. 23, 1956, weather and attendance were taken into account for that month.

And planning has included the short-lived, albeit, important problem of nailing down a specific date to hold the Central Park event, according to Koehler.

"The weekend we originally wanted was two weeks later than what we have now," she said.

Some of those dates and times conflicted with another event following concerns made clear to Fremont by organizers of the Newark Days Celebration.

"They were holding their event at the same time," Koehler said, as Fremont's neighboring city is set to celebrate its 51st anniversary of incorporation next year.

"We're not the only party animals in the vicinity," said Councilwoman Anu Natarajan of the switched dates to accommodate Newark's timetable.

Making her comment at the March 22 Fremont City Council meeting Natarajan -- the anniversary event's lead organizer -- also made a referral to city council for a vote to reserve all of Central Park's grounds Sept. 9-10, plus two additional days for setup and cleanup.

Fremont City Council members unanimously approved the park location and the event's timing.

According to Koehler, anniversary organizers also recognized other concerns.

"There were religious conflicts," she said of an event that was meant to be "inclusive" of Fremont's entire, multi-ethnic community.

Those conflicts included two religious holidays: the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, both of which will occur in late September.

"Our objective is to include everyone. We have these very important religious holidays so we couldn't hold this event then," she said.

The September date was also chosen for its likelihood to draw a high attendance as an idea for a summer event was nixed due to people taking summer vacations.

Event organizers will also require funding, although organizers have not confirmed the needed amount.

Councilmember Steve Cho said T-shirt sales and raffles will be held throughout the year, but important contributions from corporate Fremont were definitely needed to tip the scales.

"We're trying to build a database of all possible contacts right now," Cho said of plans to hit up local "big league" companies for monetary contributions.

"(Fundraising) will require a lot of phone calls and a lot of visitations," he said, adding he didn't think "anyone in Fremont has ever raised that much for a public event."

Celebrate Fremont will likely hold a "fundraising gala" Jan. 20, 2006.

"It will possibly be a black tie event," Cho said of an event meant to kick off next year's big push for event dollars.

Fremont City Council unanimously voted Jan. 25 to contribute $10,000 in "seed money" toward the celebration. Soon afterward, New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. contributed an additional $10,000 toward further fundraising.

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