Fremont’s Community Fair

Have you ever seen a bigger pizza?

Marko Tubic, FCC Prez, speaks with Mark McBurney over pizza at The Ballroom

The February 17th Fremont Chamber of Commerce general membership meeting took place in a back room – where a wide spectrum of Fremonsters (artists, residents, business owners, landlords, media, a Mason, and a vaudevillian) were served beverages (adult and non-) and the huge (and delicious) pizza The Ballroom is known for.

The first public outreach meeting by the Fremont Chamber on the Fremont Fair had a good turnout, but feedback can still be given.  The following recap may spark ideas – and Chamber Executive Director Jessica Vets still wants to hear it all.  Or so she said, repeatedly, at the meeting…

Something Old, Something New…

Vets started with a presentation, assembled by Amanda Foley of Duo Public Relations, on the transition of the Fair from Solid Ground (the producer for the last 35+/- years) to the Chamber.  The Chamber agreed, in taking over the productions, to continue to fundraise for Solid Ground, an agency that supports low income and marginalized people to improve their lives.

The Chamber will donate any profit the Fair may make, but they are looking at additional methods including:

  • text message fundraising (very successful for Haiti Relief/Red Cross donations)
  • tip jars at the beer gardens

Monies raised beyond that amount agreed upon with Solid Ground will go to fund the grant program of the Fremont Chamber, which supports events and non-profits in Fremont.

The message of the Fair, for the Chamber, is “Bring people to Fremont to shop, spend, dine, drink and discover…and entice them to come back throughout the year!”  The Fair will celebrate Fremont, and forge stronger relationships with groups that participate in the Fair – the Fremont Arts Council and Seattle Art Cars, the vendors, and the organizations with booths like the Fremont Historical Society, Fremont Baptist Church, Fremont Neighborhood Council, etc.

For 2010, the event will still have many popular features – the Solstice Parade, booths, beer, bands, vendors, Art Cars, Kids Zone, etc.  Changes being considered, this first time out, concern:

  • Remove the Giving Boxes (to open up the entrances and find more cost-effective methods of fundraising)
  • Create a Sunday neighborhood meet-up
  • Display (some) Parade floats on Sunday
  • Build a connection between the Parade after-event at Gasworks and the Fairgrounds
  • Market the Fair year-round

As well as increasing community outreach by:

  • mailing awareness letters to neighbors
  • distributing information on street closures/traffic impacts
  • digital promotion bits
  • hosting an April 21st planning meeting for all Fremont events

Kelly Pflugrath, of Bold Hat Productions – the 2010 Fair event planners, reported that vendor sign-ups are on-track with an expected final number of around 300.  Vets finally ended her formal presentation with an unveiling of the 2010 Fair art work.

Come On Down!

From there Vets invited an open discussion, and many Fremonsters gave feedback on what they’ve liked, or didn’t like, about past Fairs – and what they want for the future.

Several people mentioned Al Parisi, who organized the Fair for over 20 years.  Vets has contacted Parisi, she said, and he has agreed to be a resource as the Chamber tries to restore the best of Fremont Fairs’ past.

Many comments concerned the caliber – and lack of diversity – of the entertainment in recent years.  Vets and Pflugrath requested anyone with contacts for quality entertainment (or vendors, food providers, etc.) send them to register for the Fair now!

Some comments came at cross purposes – some think vendors should be the focus of the Fair while others don’t.  Some want the Solstice Parade moved to Sunday, while others insisted it be kept as is – particularly as it remains the responsibility of the Fremont Arts Council and not part of the Fair.

Ultimately, Vets hammered home, we need to promote and build up Sunday at the Fair.  Right now, she welcomes ideas for making Sunday ‘a day for the neighbors.’  A day for those in the ‘hood to come on down, stroll the canal, gather and celebrate Fremont!


©2010 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.                                         Read more ‘Fremont’ at


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