The paperwork is just about ready to be filed and the Fremont Downtown Development Group is well on its way to becoming an official Nebraska 501c3 nonprofit organization! While we wait, we will continue to focus on transforming downtown Fremont into an area bustling with shops, restaurants, and activities—welcoming neighbors, friends, and visitors to our beautiful city.
We want to give a huge shout out of thanks to the Fremont Area Community Foundation for agreeing to be our fiscal sponsor until our 501c3 paper work is approved. Their fiscal sponsorship means donations can be made to the Fremont Downtown Development Group through the Fremont Area Community Foundation. We currently have one project receiving funds: Lights On Fremont! is our initiative to outline all the buildings in downtown with white lights. The results so far are breathtaking and make our downtown feel warm, fun, and inviting. Donations were also received for the first Downtown Fall Festival, that took place the weekend of October 5-7, 2018.
If you’d like to join the team behind the Fremont Downtown Development Group, just email us and express your interest. We’ll be in touch soon to talk with you one-on-one.
The first annual Downtown Fremont Fall Festival, October 5-7, 2018, was a big success and will become a wonderful annual tradition. It was a busy weekend with a full schedule and, while the weather made some activities a challenge, we didn’t give up and everyone who attended had a great time.
The Farm-to-Table Community Dinner was well attended and a great way to unofficially kickoff the weekend’s events. Thanks to Rogers Tent and Awning for the tent that kept us all dry and comfortable; Midland University’s Arts Department for the lively jazz music; a delicious meal, featuring brisket donated by our downtown grocery store, Brady’s Meats and Foods, and prepared by the talented chefs from Midland University’s Fresh Ideas group; and mouth-watering desserts prepared by our very own Evelyn Stewart.
The White Light City Film Festival was a welcome addition to the weekend. After a day of filmmaking workshops on Friday, the film festival held its kickoff party that night at the May Brothers Building. During that event, Marianna Simmons was honored with a tribute to her late husband, Ray, for the work they have both done throughout the years for our community, and for getting many cherished buildings in Fremont listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Their dedication and love for Fremont and its residents has made “The White Light City” a name we will never forget. The film festival continued on Saturday and Sunday at Midland University’s Eppley Auditorium and the Milady Coffeehouse downtown, screening 25 films from filmmakers in 8 countries, along with the films created this year by students at The Digg Site Productions‘ Film It Camps.
The Artisan Market had record crowds on Saturday and allowed those who attended to start their Christmas shopping early. Pancakes in the Park was a fun way to start the day—with some yummy breakfast before shopping! The Pianos on the Streets project added a lot of creative art and sounds to our sidewalks.
The first ever White Light One Mile Run was a blast! Over 60 runners participated, and the winner, Tristan Nelson, completed the downtown course in just over 4 minutes and 20 seconds—WOW, that’s impressive!
The weekend’s activities wrapped up on Sunday evening with the White Light City Film Festival Awards and the White Light City Dedication to Marianne Simmons. Everyone in attendance joined Marianne outside while she had the honor of flipping the ceremonial switch to turn on the new white lights adorning the buildings in downtown Fremont.
We planted a seed this year with this first Downtown Fremont Fall Festival. Many people—your friends and neighbors—put their hearts and souls into this weekend. This seed will require care and nurturing in order for it to grow. We need more people willing to step up and get involved in organizing all the aspects of the weekend. If you’re interested in helping to organize next year’s Downtown Fremont Fall Festival, just reply to this email and let us know. Or watch for an announcement about the 2019 Fall Festival Committee that will start working sometime in March or April 2019.
Lights On – Looking East on 6th Street
You’ve probably already seen the new lights downtown, either on social media or in person. The warm white lights are being installed on buildings throughout downtown Fremont. We initially started out with the four blocks in the historic district as our first goal. After all, you have to start somewhere, and that seemed like a good starting place. However, soon after installation began, we started getting inquiries from other businesses in the downtown area who wanted lights on their buildings, too. We’ve also encountered some business that just aren’t ready to participate. As you can imagine, this undertaking is huge and we will work toward getting lights on ALL buildings that would like to have them.
We have partnered with A-Plus Tree Service to get the lights installed. We had offers from Omaha companies, but decided to keep it local and build a relationship up with a company we can call upon in the future. Plus, these guys really like being apart of a great project like this in their hometown!
Several steps are taken to secure these lights to the buildings. First, silicone glue is used to attach a plastic bracket to the surface of the building. Next, we wait 24 hours for the glue to fully cure and harden. Once the 24 hours has passed, a LED light with a plastic clip is slid onto the bracket, securing the light into place. The bracket and glue are not permanent, making it easy to remove or reposition, if needed. Lights are being placed 11 inches apart on horizontal surfaces and 10 inches apart on vertical surfaces. This layout allows us to illuminate the roof lines while adding a vertical line in between each building. This method gives the buildings the appearance of being fully outlined, and provides a beautiful, sparkling streetscape.
The LED lights being put in place are extremely efficient, costing just pennies a week to power. While each building owner is
Price of C9 LED lights
responsible for their own electricity to power the lights, some building owners have opted to collaborate and share electrical resources. While we are not involved in any of those agreements, we think it’s great to see downtown businesses working together toward a common goal!
Some have asked what we will do to keep these lights fresh and lit year-round. Our goal is to keep the Lights On Fremont! project going 365 days a year—all it takes is some effort and teamwork. We believe a small maintenance fund, supported by small fundraising events throughout the year, will help maintain this beautiful addition to our downtown.
If you were wondering, this initial Lights On Fremont! project is self-funded by the Fremont Downtown Development Group and its current members, with the goal of adding light, excitement, and energy to our downtown streets. No BID money is being used on this project. All funds for the project are made through the Fremont Area Community Foundation and designated for the Lights On Fremont! fund. All donations to this project fund will go directly toward getting lights on all the buildings that choose to participate in the effort. Building owners have been given an estimate of what it might cost to illuminate their building and, if they choose to participate, make their donation to the fund through the Fremont Area Community Foundation.
We are fortunate to have a generous, anonymous donor for this project. Their generosity and commitment to the Lights On Fremont! project has made it possible to reduce the cost of the lights to just $5.50 per foot for materials and installation. To date, we have installed just under 4,000 feet of lights.
We hope that when this project is finished, it will be something all downtowners can be proud of. It is the start of something wonderful for downtown Fremont.The more light and energy we can bring to our sidewalks, the more the people will come and enjoy our downtown. This is just a small step in a long journey, and we will continue making progress towards our goal of making our downtown a place that everyone wants to be.
Join us for the 1st Annual Downtown Fremont Fall Festival, featuring music, art and film!
When: October 5-7, 2018
Where: Downtown Fremont, Nebraska
- White Light Film Festival
- Artisan Market
- Live Music
- Farm-to-Table Dinner
- One Mile Race
- Kid’s Corner, and more!