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

Anniversary Bash: As good as gold
City wraps up two days honoring a half-century

By Matthew Artz, STAFF WRITER
Fremont Argus
September 11, 2006

FREMONT - After nearly two full days at Fremont's 50th anniversary bash this weekend, Margo Ferreira was feeling plenty homesick.

"I want to come back," said Ferreira, a Fremont resident of 25 years who recently moved to Modesto to buy a bigger house.

Tens of thousands of people celebrated Fremont's 50th anniversary in Central Park Sunday. For most, it was a chance to party with family and neighbors, but for others it was perhaps the largest homecoming in city history.

"I miss the friendliness," said Karen Lee, who sold her Fremont-based deli five years ago and was hoping to see some old friends.

For Ferreira, the celebration has been one familiar face after another. "It seems like everyone I know is here," she said.

Fresh from four years at the University of California, Los Angeles, Natalie Lau has decided that she'll never be a valley girl. "It's more relaxed and family oriented here," said Lau, who has moved back in with her folks in Fremont.

What will the Fremont of Lau's adulthood look like?

A questionnaire circulated to Fremont residents this year yielded a wish list headlined by better school programs and facilities, more recreation activities, less traffic, a BART extension to San Jose and a performing arts center.

Then again, the Big One could strike any time.

Right next to Fremont's Street of Dreams future exhibit, Mary Biggs gave slide show presentations illustrating the devastation of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Earlier in the day, Fremont Fire Department Division Chief Vic Valdes had assured residents that firefighters were trained to handle a dirty bomb attack, she said.

"This is a party, so it's a difficult forum to speak about disaster preparedness," said Biggs, a Community Emergency Response Team member, as most revelers passed by her tent on their way to the nearby bouncy castles.

Assuming Fremont is around for another 50 years, there will be a lot of people with happy memories of its golden anniversary party.

"I like that it's for families and it doesn't have that commercial feel," said Shiny Shyu, who moved to the city 11 years ago.

Catherine Williams, a native of England, said the highlight for her as a mother of two young children were the bouncy castles, and, as it is every day in Fremont, "the mix of people."

Anyone with a working nose and taste buds could savor the city's diversity. The food court's offerings included passion fruit tea, bratwurst, tandoori chicken, kebabs, Portuguese sausage, Hawaiian snow-cones, and Malasada, a Hawaiian and Portuguese doughnut. Meanwhile, a band played a mix of country music and '80s rock.

"I really like the idea of my children being here in 50 years for the 100th anniversary," Williams said. "I don't know where they'll live then, but there's always something special about the place you're from."

Staff writer Matthew Artz can be reached at (510) 353-7003 or martz@angnewspapers.com.


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