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

'Only the Best' for City's 50th Birthday Gala

by Eleni Economides, Staff Writer
Fremont Argus
January 21, 2006

FREMONT Longtime residents, business owners and city officials donned their best furs, glitter, satin and bow ties Friday evening to help Fremont celebrate its 50th birthday in style during the "White Tent Gala" in Central Park. Hey, Joan Rivers even showed up.

Well, kind of. The gala, which celebrated the incorporation of the communities of Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose and Warm Springs to form Fremont on Jan. 23, 1956, was attended by nearly 700 proud citizens who love to call Fremont home. Walking in, one couldn't help but notice the Joan Rivers impersonator on the red carpet making "fashionista" comments, an array of ice sculptures, Venetian-style fountains, fresh flower arrangements and a distinctive bar made of ice that proclaimed the evening's motto, "Celebrating our best and creating our future." It wasn't just your average "tent."

Suzanne Chan, vice chair of the gala, proudly proclaimed as she stood on the red-carpet entryway: "Only the best for Fremont."

The evening began with an introduction from master of ceremonies and longtime Fremont resident Gary Williams, who read a rousing list of "The top 10 ways you know you're 50," complete with jokes such as "You know you're 50 when you don't recognize any of the Grammy nominees."

After the introduction came a televised speech from Mayor Bob Wasserman, who couldn't attend the gala because he is hospitalized, battling pneumonia.

"This event symbolizes the community involvement in this city we love. No city comes close to Fremont," said Wasserman in a videotape made in his hospital room.

Others also came to honor the city they love, including Congressman Pete Stark, who lives in Fremont "one third of the time."

"What's great about Fremont is the real sense of diversity we have here. It's a wonderful city with a real community spirit," said Stark as he headed for the dinner table.

Before dinner, Dr. Bernard Stewart of Washington Hospital offered a toast. "This is an incredible place we live in," began Stewart. "So let's honor the past and come together and unite in a future that will benefit us all. To our past, our present and our future." The crowd responded with an enthusiastic "Hear! Hear!"

After dinner, the crowd danced the night away to the hits of the Groove Doctors, and anticipated the cutting and serving of a 5 1/2-foot-tall anniversary cake donated by hometown Vienna Bakery. Also, paintings by local artist Jan Schafir were to be auctioned off, all to benefit the yearlong celebration of Fremont's golden anniversary and the free Sept. 9 and 10 event in Central Park.

Fremont Bank Vice Chairman Michael Wallace was especially enjoying the evening. "Between this event and Washington Hospital's Top Hat event, I'm really impressed."

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