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Pioneer Day
Official name Pioneer Day
Observed by Chicoans
Type local, historical, cultural
Date First Saturday in May
2009 date May 2
2010 date May 1
Celebrations Pioneer Day Parade

Pioneer Days is the historical name of an annual community event in Chico, California celebrated the week prior to Pioneer Day, the first Saturday in May. Chico has a history of 'May Day Parades' dating back to the late 1800's.

In 1917, the first parade that would later come to be called the Pioneer Day Parade was held on the downtown streets of Chico as a celebration of Chico Normal School's Senior Day. This tradition would continue as a celebration of local heritage under various names including Rancho Chico Days, and Celebration of People.

In 1987 Playboy Magazine named Chico State the "Number One Party School" in the nation. University President Robin Wilson met with city officials including City Manager Fred Davis, and Police Chief, John Bullerjahn with the goal of ending the reputation by ending the parties directly with police force. On 25 April 1987 police riots broke out during the Pioneer Days celebration. President Wilson announced an end to the 70 year old tradition, saying he took Pioneer Days "out back and shot it in the head."

The tradition was revived the next year as Rancho Chico Days, and again in 1996 as the Celebration of People. The name Pioneer Days was brought back and has continued to this day.

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