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