The "Celebration of People Parade" is a continuation of a great Chico tradition dating back to around 1917. The Spring Parade in Chico has seen many name changes throughout the years, Pioneer Days, Rancho Chico Days, and for 5 years was known as the Celebration of People Parade. Despite the name changes, Chico's Spring Parade has established a history of being the premier parade north of Sacramento.
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 it's founding. Paul felt that the Spring Parade provided a vehicle that created a tradition that brought the whole community together. He also felt that the end of the spring parade had been a tragic loss of a decades old Chico tradition and one that the Chico Community sorely missed. Because of the great success of the first C.O.P., the Associated Students at Chico State took on the parade as an annual project. They 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 develop a framework that included members of the community in the coordination of what is, at it's heart, a community event.
In the fall of 2000 the Associated Students declined to be in charge of 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.) in early 2001 to be responsible for putting on the parade every year on the first Saturday of May. Among the founding members are experienced people who have successfully coordinated from 4 to 8 successful spring parades in the past. We have also formed a working relationship with Beverly Crosby who coordinates the Rancho Chico Days Parade. We are looking forward to the working relationship that we will share with the Rancho Chico Days Committee.
The Celebration of People Committee's main goal is to bring back 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 Parade is a great asset to Chico's downtown businesses. To that end our committee is working with the D.C.B.A. to make the day a special one for everyone.
Historically, the first Saturday in May has been the established date of Chico's Spring Parade. Accordingly, all 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 Spring Parade in the North State's annual calendar.
The Celebration of People Parade was created 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.
On May 5, 2001 the COP, Inc. successfully held the first Celebration of People Parade under our stewardship. Financial assistance was provided by the City of Chico in the form of fee waivers and the provision of liability insurance. Other funding was provided by individual and corporate sponsorships, including media in-kind donations of advertisement.
In 2004, the parade, by a popular vote, the parade was renamed to "Pioneer Day Parade" therefore restoring the original theme.