On January 23, 1956, the communities of Mission San Jose, Centerville, Niles, Irvington, and Warm Springs incorporated to form the city of Fremont, California. Located on the southeast side of the San Francisco Bay in Alameda County, Fremont has a population of more than 200,468 people within an area of 92 square miles. Fremont is the fourth largest city in terms of population in the Bay Area and fifth largest city area-wise in California. Today Fremont's population includes many ethnic groups, including Indians, Taiwanese, and Chinese. In the late 1980s and early '90s, a large concentration of Afghans moved to the area, mostly refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Afghan Civil War, and the Taliban Government.
Fremont features a variety of attractions, including three farmers markets; many parks of varying sizes; three museums: the Museum of Local History, the Niles Depot Museum, and the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum & Edison Theater; four art galleries: the Fremont Art Association, the Nova Gallery of Fine Art, the Olive Hyde Art Gallery, and Smith's Fine Art Gallery; several performing arts venues: the Broadway West Theatre Company, the Gary Soren Smith Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, and Fremont Symphony Orchestra; and numerous historical attractions, some of which include the Ardenwood Historic Farm, Patterson House, Hiquera Adobe, Leland Stanford Winery Historic Landmark, Niles Canyon Railway, Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum, and Vallejo Adobe.
Several highly anticipated annual events mark Fremont's calendar year, the most important of which is probably the Fremont Festival of the Arts. The festival, having taken place for the last 24 years, always occurs on the first weekend in August, and is billed as the largest free street festival on the West Coast. The festival features live music, original arts and crafts displays, a tradeshow, and gourmet food vendors. Citizens of Fremont also look forward to the annual Fremont Fourth of July Parade in the Historic Niles District. This area is a popular shopping and community event destination in Fremont. With a number of antique and collectible shops, specialty shops and services, art galleries, businesses, and dining and entertainment establishments, there is much to do for citizens and visitors alike along Main Street in Fremont's Historic Niles District.