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Pioneer Day Parade 2004

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Chico loves a parade, but name change brings mixed reaction
By MELODY GUTIERREZ - Chico ER Staff Writer 5/2/04

Thousands lined downtown streets Saturday for a look at the born-again Pioneer Days Parade.

Jeannette Bostrom said she was glad to see the Celebration of People parade renamed to a once-legendary Chico State University-sponsored event.

"I don't think they should have ever changed it," said Bostrom, a longtime Chico resident.

Pioneer Days ended after drunken rioting broke out during the 1987 and 1990 events. But Bostrom said what she remembers most was the amount of effort that went into the floats.

"It was impressive," Bostrom said. "People went all out on those floats. It showed just how creative they were."

A couple floats made their way down Main Street at this year's parade, but Bostrom said she was disappointed with just how few there were.

"It used to be very competitive for the students," she said.

While Bostrom remains a fan of the name change, it hasn't been met with entirely positive responses, said Bob Ray, president of the parade committee, in a press release.

Pioneer Days' history isn't the reason Mickie James preferred the Celebration of People name.

"It fits better. It includes everyone," James said. "With Pioneer Days, you almost expect cowboys and stuff."

Either way, the name's reputation did bring more people out to the parade. Chico State sophomore David Morford brought friends and two couches to Broadway to be a part of the name's revival.

"It's something different," Morford said. "We had fun."

Morford and his friends were united in choosing Tau Gamma Theta's float of a movie being filmed about a cowboy saving a damsel from the railroad tracks.

"They went all out," said Christina Baldarelli. "The rest of the frats just walked by."

There were 57 organizations represented in the parade, which began at 11 a.m. and concluded about an hour later. The parade ran around City Plaza, where the Artisan's Faire was taking place. The faire featured vendors selling their artwork, which ranged from paintings to glass vases.

"I like this art in the park," said Ane St. James while sitting on the grass at City Plaza facing the parade as it came to a close. "There are just so many people out here today."