History of the Chico Spring Parade

The Pioneer Day Parade is a continuation of a great Chico tradition dating back to around 1915. The Spring Parade in Chico has seen many name changes throughout the years - Senior Days, Pioneer Days, Rancho Chico Days, the Celebration of People Parade and now, the Pioneer Day Parade.  Despite the name changes, Chico's Spring Parade has established a history of being the premier parade north of Sacramento for most of the last 100 years.

The Associated Students at California State University Chico founded the Celebration of People Parade in 1996 under the leadership of Executive Vice President Paul DiGirolamo. The parade has been held in Downtown Chico every spring since its founding. Paul felt that the Spring Parade provided a vehicle that brought the whole community together, and that the end of Chico’s Spring Parade had been a tragic loss of a decade’s old Chico tradition and one that the Chico Community sorely missed.

Because of the great success of the first Celebration of People Parade, the Associated Students at Chico State took on the parade as an annual project. The Associated Students continued the parade for the next 4 years, but failed to recreate the model of success established by Mr. DiGirolamo the first time and gave up the ship. In our opinion, the main reason for their lack of success was failing to continue a framework that included members of the community in the coordination of what is, at its heart, a community event.

In the fall of 2000 the Associated Students declined to fund or be involved with putting on the parade in 2001. With the acquiescence of the Associated Students, a group of ten community members took-up the challenge of putting on the parade in May of 2001, and to that end created the Celebration of People, Inc. (COP, Inc.) a 501(c)(3), non profit organization in early 2001 to be responsible for putting on the parade every year.

On May 5, 2001 the COP, Inc. successfully held the first Celebration of People Parade under our stewardship. In 2003 a community-wide name-the-parade contest was held, and the winning name by far was the Pioneer Day Parade.  Historically, the first Saturday in May has been the established date of Chico's Spring Parade. Accordingly, most other parades in the other North-State towns and cities have scheduled their annual parades and events around Chico's Spring Parade to avoid conflicts, thus securing a place for the Pioneer Day Parade in the North State's annual calendar.

The Parade Committee's main goal is to continue one of Chico's most loved and appreciated community events. For this to be accomplished, the Spring Parade must gain the support of all elements of the Chico Community.  Among our first achievements was to gain the cooperation, endorsement and assistance of the Downtown Chico Business Association. We share the belief with the D.C.B.A. that the Spring Parade is a great asset to Chico's downtown businesses. To that end our committee is working to make each parade better than the previous year’s.

The Pioneer Day Parade is meant to bring the Chico Community together to celebrate the diversity of people and cultures that make up our Northern California service area. COP, Inc. has held true to that mission by reaching out to local and regional schools and youth organizations.

The COP, Inc. is currently well into the planning, fundraising, and permit process necessary to hold this year's Annual Pioneer Day Parade.


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