Fremont: 4th of July Parade expected to draw 20,000 downtown

As many as 20,000 people are expected to come out Tuesday morning for Fremont’s 4th of July Parade to watch a patriotic display of decorative floats, marching bands, antique cars and motorcycles pass through downtown.

It’ll be the fifth year the parade follows a route that starts near the corner of Paseo Padre Parkway and Stevenson Boulevard, moves north on Paseo Padre to Capitol Avenue and then heads west on Capitol where it terminates at the intersection with Liberty Street.

The parade — Fremont’s 19th — begins 10 a.m. and should end between 11:30 a.m. and noon. Expect partial closures of Stevenson Boulevard beginning at 7 a.m. and Paseo Padre Parkway, Capitol Avenue, Hastings Street, Walnut Avenue, and Liberty Street beginning around 9 a.m. as the parade sets up. All streets should be reopened by about 1 p.m.

Jesse Schaa, president of the parade for the last seven years, said most people arrive around 9 a.m. to set up a spot to watch.

Schaa said this year’s parade theme is “We Are One,” with the focus on togetherness.

“You have people coming out of their houses, sitting and standing shoulder to shoulder with a whole different diversity of people, talking, sharing some good times,” he said. “It’s bringing the community out and coming together.”

Before the parade starts there will be a flyover by the “Beech Boys,” a group of pilots doing formations in Beechcraft airplanes.

The parade’s grand marshal this year is Fremont Unified School District Superintendent Jim Morris, who is retiring at the end of the month.

The parade’s honorary grand marshal will be family members of the late James Sakane, a longtime resident and photographer who shot community events such as the parade for various local organizations, including The Argus and former Fremont Bulletin. Sakane died earlier this year.

The California School for the Deaf’s football team is also being honored, for its recent years of success. Its players and coaches were featured in an ESPN documentary, and one of their games last season was nationally televised by the sports network.

The national anthem will be performed by 16-year-old Fremont Christian School student Rachel Sevilla, of Fremont.

While parade sponsors will provide free water to visitors at designated stations along the route, there will be no food vendors. However, many nearby restaurants and eateries will be open for business during and after the parade, Schaa said.

The parade began in Fremont shortly after the city stopped putting on fireworks shows at Central Park’s Lake Elizabeth in the late 1990s. The city had sponsored the annual show for many years and its popularity grew after the city council voted to ban all personal fireworks use in Fremont in 1986.

But as crowds grew too large to manage, the fireworks shows were cancelled and the parade sprang up to take their place. It was initially funded in part by the city, but after a few years the costs were shifted to local business groups, who for several years rotated the parade route through different districts.

The event is currently supported by a group of corporate and private sponsors.

“It should be another great little parade,” Schaa said. “We’re totally excited. It’s going to be a fun, fun day for everybody.”

Fireworks of all kinds remain illegal in Fremont.

Newark and Union City both allow the use of “safe and sane” fireworks, which are approved by the state fire marshal and sold at designated booths in both cities, with sales supporting non-profits.

In Newark, safe and sane fireworks are only allowed on private properties. All parks will close at 7 p.m. on July 4.

In Union City, similar rules apply. Safe and sane fireworks are permitted only on private properties, and parks will close at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks must be used between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. on days when booths are selling fireworks, and no later than 11 p.m. on July 4. All fireworks of any kind are banned from use east of Mission Boulevard, where the hillsides create an elevated fire risk.

By JOSEPH GEHA | | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: June 28, 2017 at 2:35 pm | UPDATED: June 29, 2017 at 12:10 pm