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Parade and sunshine make a perfect combo
By RYAN OLSON - Chico ER Staff Writer

Bright, cloudless skies greeted the hundreds of people who flocked downtown Saturday for the Pioneer Day Parade. The parade's traditional staples — including horses, dancers and a fire engine — wowed the crowd. Jacob Havens, 4, of Colusa was impressed by the motorcycles, but not the revving motors.

"The big one — it hurt my ears," he said on West Third Street. He covered his ears after a semi trailer with the Alpha Chi sorority sounded its horn.

Jacob attended the parade with his great-grandmother Marilyn Havens of Paradise and many others who lined up along downtown's streets.

Havens said Jacob is at an age where he can enjoy a parade.

"He's excited about trucks, fire engines and motorcycles and everything little boys love," she said.

Havens said she enjoyed the sunshine the most.

On the corner of Main and Third streets, Jolene Gonzales had fun watching the parade with her children — Salena Rodriguez, 10, and Derrick Rivas, 2.

"I like how the community gets together," she said.

Salena enjoyed the hip-hop dancers. She called out to several of her friends taking part in the parade.

The parade was organized by The Celebration of People Inc. President Daniel Oliver said the weather cooperated and the crowd and participant turnout was higher than in previous years.

"All the kids had a great time," Oliver said. "Next year is going to be even better."

This summer, Oliver said the group will start working on next year's parade, scheduled for May 5. He said it will be the 90th anniversary of the first Spring Parade — the predecessor of the modern-day event.

There were some snags Saturday. The Pleasant Valley High Marching Band opted not to wait and perform at the end of the parade. Band members dispersed through the crowds in their sky-blue marching uniforms looking for parents and rides home about an hour after the parade began.

Saxophone player Jonathan Imhoff, a freshman, searched for his father. He noted some of the band's 50 members observed the parade's relatively slow progress and were concerned about how long they would need to stand before marching.

Although Pleasant Valley's instruments were silent, the Paradise High Marching Band proceeded through the route. The Blue Room Theatre Young Company sang "76 Trombones" while wearing costumes from "The Music Man" musical.

Ivan Seredni is a veteran parade attendee — he's come to the event off and on for two decades. He said Saturday was a fun event, especially for kids. However, Seredni said it was more fun when sororities and fraternities participated, although there were a few "troublemakers."

"I miss the old college students when they were doing their parade," he said.

Chico State University sponsored the similarly named Pioneer Days Parade until 1987 when it was disbanded after bouts of civic unrest, including riots. The Associated Students launched the first Celebration of People in 1996 before turning the reins over to the group in 2001. The group redubbed the event Pioneer Day Parade in 2003.

Oliver said the riots were unfortunate, but the modern event is geared toward kids and family.

"We're trying to bring back community traditions," he said.


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