Foodies gather for Chico tradition


Attendees waiting for their Taste of Chico. Photo credit: Courtesy of Downtown Chico Business Association

On Sept. 25, some of the area’s best restaurants, wineries, breweries, food trucks and beverage vendors will gather for the Taste of Chico, an event transforming a quiet Sunday afternoon into a foodie-crazed occasion occupied with over 8,000 visitors and locals.

From the Madison Bear Garden to Dutch Bros Coffee; Shubert’s Ice Cream to Pluto’s; Tin Roof Bakery to Tres Hombres—over 50 participating establishments will be serving unique dishes and drinks showcased for the event.

“Tons of establishments come together and do this every year with us,” said Downtown Chico Business Association Community Events and Marketing Director Stephanie Yunker. “It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year.”

Much like the Thursday Night Market, the Taste Of Chico will be located downtown, surrounding City Plaza between Broadway and Wall Street. Fourth and 5th streets will be crowded with vendors and live music on multiple stages.

For the 21-and-up crowd, the beer garden, the Coors Light Cold Zone, can be found directly behind City Hall offering 100 different types of beer and wine to taste.

The headlining act, Decades, Chico’s premier cover quintet will be playing in the Coors Light Cold Zone. Other musical support includes Rube & the Rhythm Rockers, Dylan’s Dharma and Sapphire Soul.

Taste of Chico has been a trademark event in the community for the last 31 years. It has changed location and arrangements until 2014 when organizers began implementing the effective format surrounding the City Plaza. Jim King, owner of Rolling Stone Pizza Company and a Chico State alumni, remembers his first encounter as a physical education undergrad.

“I first came across Taste of Chico in 1989. It was like five bucks to get in for all you could eat and drink. I was so excited to be there and now we’re really excited to participate in it,” King said in a recent phone interview. “We probably make about 200 pizzas for the event.”

Ticket costs have gone up since the early days but still remain reasonable for the chance to discover the eclectic array of local eateries and beverage vendors.

Three unique “punch-card style” ticket packages are available for pre-order starting with a $20 student option, which includes seven food taste and six non-alcoholic taste. Along with a 2016 souvenir tasting glass, the “Wine & Dine” option includes nine food taste, 10 alcoholic beverage taste and six non-alcoholic for $35.

Together with the wide selection of gastronomical choices, craft beers, wines and non-alcoholic beverages, the event will be a chance to check out dozens of local artists and performers in one of Northern California’s most unique food and fine art festivals.

Taste of Chico starts at noon and concludes at 4 p.m. on Sept. 25. Ticket prices cost an additional $5 on the day of the event. Complimentary bike valet is also provided by Chico Cycling Club and will be located on Wall Street between 3rd and 4th streets.

Matthew Manfredi can be reached at [email protected] or @matthewmanfredi on Twitter.