As the holiday season approaches, businesses in downtown Fremont are decking the halls, or the storefronts, with tinsel and ornaments bringing festive cheer to the area.
Along with the typical holiday decorations that can be found in storefront windows, and on light poles lining Main Street, this year a unique type of artwork can be found throughout the downtown area.
Drawings of snowmen, ornaments, and snow covered hills created by fourth graders at Fremont Public Schools now light up the streets as they are featured on banners and in storefront windows.
“We did a coloring contest with fourth graders and they were able to turn those in and almost all of the banners are different, but they are replicas of children’s drawings and ideas of what the holidays mean to them which is really exciting and fun,” Shannon Mullen, executive director of MainStreet of Fremont, said.
MainStreet of Fremont, along with help from Barb Tellatin of the Fremont Area Art Association, set the plan into motion to feature local kids’ artwork throughout the downtown area.
“We had this wonderful idea of getting children’s artwork up for the Christmas season and the downtown needed new banners, so that is how it kind of came together,” Tellatin said.
Tellatin approached Kevin Earleywine of Fremont Public Schools to see if any art teachers in the district would be interested in doing the project with their students.
“He was totally agreeable and very supportive of the project, and the teachers were agreeable to the idea as well,” Tellatin said.
In September, FPS art teachers Julie Bristol, Jennifer Trapp and Jesse Kiefer began the project with their students, who by October had completed a multitude of holiday themed drawings.
There are 6 or 7 different lesson plans that were used with the kids, so a lot of the banners are different,” Tellatin said. “Once all the submission were sent to us we judged out and came up with 45 that we wanted printed, because there are 45 poles downtown.”
After collecting the artwork and deciding which 45 drawings would be featured, the pieces were taken to Max D Designs to be printed into the banners that now hang along several streets downtown.
“It was a fun project and when picked them up from Max designs I was just so excited,” Mullen said. “Because they are really fun, and vibrant and they just have a fun twist to them because it is through the eyes of kids.”
Along with their artwork being featured on banners, all of the original works are now being displayed in the storefront windows of various downtown businesses.
“It’s a great way for families to come downtown and see their son or daughters artwork,” Mullen said. “We put the actual artwork in many of the different businesses throughout downtown so the kids can come downtown and see all of their, and their friends, artwork.”
The original drawings can be seen in the windows of the Milady Coffeehouse, Nancy’s Boutique, Anne’s Tax Service, Wise Olde Owl, Polymath Cyber Café, Kollmeyer Passageway, Sherwin Williams, and many more businesses in the downtown corridor.
“I think it is a good fun project and we are encouraging people to come out during the Christmas Walk to look for their child, or grandchild or neighbors banner,” Tellatin said.
The project also has another Christmas Walk connection as Gallery 92 West and the Fremont Area Art Association will be holding a people’s choice contest to determine which design reigns supreme.
The top 10 drawings will be displayed and people will have the chance to vote on their top three during the Art Association’s Christmas Walk festivities.
“We are going to start the voting during the Christmas Walk, and the gallery will open at 11 a.m. and have face painting and a lot of activities, but people can just drop in and we will have a ballot box so they can choose their favorites,” Tellatin said.
The top three works of art will be awarded with different amounts of Chamber Bucks. First place will receive $50 in Chamber Bucks, while second wins $30 and third place wins $20.
“We really appreciate their willingness to participate and we hope that is a good thing for downtown, for the families of the kids, and just everybody involved in the project,” Tellatin said.
A popular rock band with local ties is concluding an extensive tour in Fremont Thanksgiving weekend.
The Midnight Devils, specializing in glam rock and 80s hair metal, will be performing a 21-and-over show at The Rox on Saturday, Nov. 25. Tickets are $5 and the show will run from 9 p.m. through 1 a.m.
Since September 2016, the three-man band has been traveling the United States hosting shows in a wide array of venues, Fremont native and band vocalist Sam Morris said during a Thursday interview with the Tribune.
During its The Other Side of the Night Tour, The Midnight Devils completed nearly 100 shows across the Midwest, and opened for some big-name rock bands, including: Drowning Pool, Great White, Jackyl and Faster Pussycat.
Around three weeks ago, Morris said he and the band were trying to figure out where to wrap up the tour.
“That’s the entire idea behind this whole show, we could have played anywhere, we could have done a large show or we could do a smaller one,” Morris said. “We decided that it would be fun to do a show where we will know everyone in the audience; and we are just going to do it as big as we can right in my hometown.”
The Midnight Devils formed in 2015 following the breakup of Omaha punk rock band 3D In Your Face. Morris and two other members formed the band, which started developing its own unique sound. People attending the Fremont show can expect to hear music from the band’s 2013 album, “The Midnight Devils,” their 2016 album, “Lost in the Volume,” as well as several cover songs from greats like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.
Fans of 3D In Your Face have grown to expect a similar sound from The Midnight Devils, but with a twist.
“The style we have now is along the same lines, it’s still glam rock and the 80s hair metal you’ve come to expect with 3D In Your Face,” Morris said. “But we also wanted to focus on that (19)50s boogy woogy rock, like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. So we have kind of mixed the 80s rock with the boogy woogy of the 50s.”
Morris said incorporating rock from the 1950s and 1980s isn’t something that was necessarily planned, but nonetheless something that happened. It’s a benefit, though, because it separates The Midnight Devils from most other rock bands.
“The cool thing about it is that it is very accessible (music) for everybody,” Morris said. “No matter what kind of music you’re into, that boogy woogy strikes a chord with everybody; it’s that basic roots of rock ‘n roll.”
The weekend the show is being hosted is ideal for The Midnight Devils.
“It’s one of those things were everyone seems to come home for Thanksgiving,” he said. “You get to see everyone and it becomes kind of a reunion for people during the holiday. Everyone gets out and wants to have fun, and we are excited to be the action and fun that everyone wants when they are back.”
Marv Welstead is excited about Alzheimer’s research and an upcoming meeting.
The Nye Alzheimer’s Support Group in Fremont has rescheduled its monthly meeting to 2 p.m. Nov. 29 at Nye Legacy.
Admission is free and the meeting is open to the public.
During the meeting, Dr. Tony Wilson and Alex Wiseman at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha will talk about a grant received from the Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration for “Alzheimer’s memory.”
The men will show how Alzheimer’s attacks the brain. They’ll talk about bio markers in the brain, Welstead said.
Besides looking forward to the meeting, Welstead also is pleased with the results of a local event — the recent Memory Walk to Cure Alzheimer’s.
That event, which took place on Sept. 30, raised more than $79,367, said Welstead, honorary chairperson of the collaboration.
“This is the most we’ve ever raised in our Memory Walks,” Welstead said.
Welstead noted that, years ago, a man did donate $65,000, but this year’s sum is the most raised during the regular walks.
“Forty percent (of funds raised) will be used for caregiver education and 60 percent will be used for research,” Welstead said.
Nearly 175 people participated in the 2017 walk.
“We are so excited because of the support we’re getting from the Fremont area. We have people now coming from Valley, Elkhorn, Hooper-Scribner, Arlington and North Bend who are all part of the walk,” Welstead said.
Donations support caregiver programs and critical research.
Welstead points to comments by Dr. Ronald Petersen of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who has said if Alzheimer’s can be detected in the early stages that through medicine its progress can be delayed for years.
“Doctors are saying that we’ve learned more in research in the last five years than we did in the previous 50 years,” Welstead said.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s.
“But we’re reaching the point where we know how to approach it,” Welstead said.
It’s important for people to attend meetings such as the one at Nye Legacy, because they can learn what to look for regarding symptoms of Alzheimer’s and the support group is designed to help them cope when working with family members who have Alzheimer’s, he added.
The Alzheimer’s Association defines the disease as “a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.”
Symptoms typically develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Welstead said patients first lose their memory, then their speech and then control of their bodily functions. Their immune system weakens to the point that their heart doesn’t work anymore. The disease leads to death.
Welstead’s wife, Jean, suffered from Alzheimer’s for eight years before her death in July 2009.
The disease has affected many other people, including the late singer Glen Campbell and President Ronald Reagan.
Reagan’s symptoms were first diagnosed in 1994. Welstead said a medication called Aricept, which could have helped Reagan, wasn’t approved until 1996. Another medication called, Namenda, which helps slow memory loss, didn’t come on the market until 2010.
The Alzheimer’s Association states that of “the estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2017, an estimated 5.3 million are age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals are under age 65 and have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.”
Research is critical to finding a cure.
“Our (the local group’s) goal is that someday Alzheimer’s patients will be taking medicine daily just like a heart patient takes aspirin to delay the disease for years,” Welstead said.
For more information, call Welstead at 402-721-3726.