Fremont unites to save 4th of July parade

May 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fremont residents are worried they may not have the money to put on their annual Fourth of July parade. So they have adopted a strategy similar to one used by President Obama during his campaign.

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Small business owners in Fremont's Warm Springs District are mounting a campaign to put on this year's Fourth of July parade.

"It's more difficult this year because everyone is watching the bottom line," said parade organizer Steve Cho.

In previous years, the city of Fremont had sponsored the parade. But in 2003 the city could no longer afford to pay because of its budget crisis.

Since 2003, corporate sponsors and local businesses have helped fund Fremont's Fourth of July parade. But this year, they too have been affected by the downturn in the economy.

Today it costs $65,000 to fund the parade. Some of the big sponsors have already said no.

So, the Fourth of July Steering Committee has started a grassroots fundraising campaign using the Internet. They are asking people to donate what they can.

"You tell your neighbors who tell their neighbors who tell their e-mail group," said 2009 Parade Chair Jan Giovannini.

"And if everybody donates $1, just $1, less than a cup of coffee, we would have more than enough," said Cho.

The parade is known for displaying Fremont's diversity. This year's parade starts at Mayten Way and Warm Springs Boulevard ending at the Grammar School.

"I just love to see everything. It's a special time and again it's a feeling of unity and a time for appreciation for all we have," said Fremont resident Trish Birks.

Michelle Koan owns a Baskin Robbins. She's hoping her clients will donate $1 here, $1 there.

"It's a land of hope and it's a land of hope for everybody and we should celebrate," said Koan.

As one organizer put it, this is a parade "for the people" and now, "by the people."

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