Billed as the largest free street festival west of the Mississippi, the Fremont Festival of the Arts is once again coming to town.
Now in its 29th year, the festival is expected to draw crowds estimated between 380,000 and 400,000 to central Fremont on Saturday and Sunday.
The masses come for a wide mix of art, live music on two stages, a kid city, a wine garden, beer stands and food vendors selling from booths and trucks.
But the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, which produces the event, is most proud of where the festival dollars go.
"I think what is really important to us is what lies at the heart of the festival -- and that is the many nonprofits that we get to involve," said Cindy Bonior, festival director and president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.
"They have been able to raise over $8.5 million over the 29 years, and that money comes through the nonprofits and back through the community to do good."
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Admission is free.
During a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Gus Morrison proclaimed the entire week -- Monday through Sunday -- Festival of the Arts week in the city.
Morrison noted that "there is no greater need in our community than an event which can be enjoyed by all our diverse populations."
He also commended the Chamber of Commerce for producing "a festival which has served as the primary source of fundraising for numerous nonprofit organizations."
Some 1,500 volunteers pitch in to make the event a reality.
Among the noteworthy attractions is the Joyce Twomey Memorial Wine Garden. Touted as the festival's hidden treasure -- it is the event's only attraction that requires an entry ticket -- the garden provides visitors with many luxuries.
They include premium wines and sangrias, a buffet lunch catered by the Marriott, in-and-out privileges and parking near the garden on Liberty Street and Capital Avenue.
The garden is open from noon to 5 p.m. each day, and the cost is $50 per person for one day.
The YMCA Kid City will feature, in addition to carnival rides, will feature a stage with performers, athletic activities such as basketball and lessons about civic leadership. Looks for Kid City at State Street and Capital Avenue.
The Gourmet Marketplace, at Capital Avenue, between Liberty and State streets, sells everything from seasonings and marinades to desserts and handmade pastas.
"That's really becoming popular with people," Bonior said.
Beyond all that goes on at the festival, Bonior stressed two additional points: The festival will strictly enforce alcohol laws -- "we card everyone," she noted -- and it does not allow pets.
Follow Darren Sabedra at twitter.com/darrensabedra.