‘Taste of Chico’ is the event of every foodie’s dreams

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Emily and mother Alicia, enjoying what looks like a well worth it punch out of the food card! (Event goers pay for cards with amounts of vendors they can visit, each time a punch out of the card is taken, so there's no double dipping.) Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

Anisha Brady

The Taste of Chico is an experience that should not be missed. Despite the intense heat, crowds of people filled the streets of downtown Chico to feast on a wide variety of gourmet snacks and beverages from local restaurants.

The event was huge and spread out over 48 square blocks, making just enough room for the 75 participating restaurants, markets, bakeries and bars that provided simple, yet delectable samples for the masses. This foodie-filled atmosphere was well accompanied by miniature horses, music from local bands like Dylan’s Dharma and Rube & The Rhythm Rockers, along with various talented artists showcasing their work.

This was easily one of Chico’s best events as it successfully emphasized the importance of local consumerism and promoted the city’s interesting culture.

New Earth is a new organic market in Chico that sources their food from local farmers and businesses. To encourage students to invest in healthy, organic food, they give a 10% discount on any purchase on Fridays.

“The money stays local so we can reinvest it to help build the community, create new jobs,” said store manager, Kevin Cotter. “We connect with local farmers, eliminating the transportation, which is better for the environment.”

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Sipho’s Jamaican Food was exotic, and offering a lot more food than most of the vendors that were at the event. Sipho’s was handing out plates with all different things they offered. Woodstock’s was offering bite sized pieces of pizza. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

Taste of Chico encourages locals to purchase fresh produce and locally grown food not just because it is healthier, but because it allows the community to flourish environmentally and economically.

Cali’flour foods, a creative gluten and nut free pizza crust company, shares and implements the same farm to table motto.

“My mother and her business partner are health coaches and wanted to make nutritional pizza, so they partnered with a local farm,” said vendor, Dani Brierly. “There are no preservatives and one whole crust is just 180 calories.”

The pizza crust was subtle yet flavorful, topped tastefully with typical but fresh pizza ingredients, and finely paired with arugula and balsamic. Their pizza crusts can be found either online or at New Earth, The Oven Café & Marketplace and Rolling Stone Pizza Co.

There were countless other local restaurants and businesses participating like Live Life Juice Co., Mim’s Bakery, the popular Madison Bear Garden and Pluto’s all contributing to this lively community event.

“I haven’t had much time to explore Chico. There are a lot of places that I didn’t even know existed. The event is giving me a taste of Chico and it helps me figure out where I want to spend my money at,” said Chico State student Hailey Sherman. “Despite the long lines, everything is fabulous.”

Waiting in long lines took on a whole new meaning when under the scorching, Chico sun. For a relieving break, one could walk through the shaded area of artists’ tents and find anything from handmade bags and jewelry to paintings.

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Dozens gather at the end of the street to enjoy a live band that had a harmonica player that made his instrument sound like a women hitting low, and high notes. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

California Soulshine Designs was one among many of the colorful, inviting tables. The handmade ceramics were nature inspired and crafted not just aesthetically, but for functionality as well.

“I sell at the Saturday farmer’s market usually, but at the Taste of Chico I get to reach new audiences,” owner, Kristy Edmonds said.

This annual event is one of the many welcoming ways Chico introduces hard working artists into the community.

Along with the art, there were multiple stages across the 48 blocks that were filled with live bands and dancers. A notable performance was made by Allegory, a belly-dancing group, which brought some middle-eastern flare to the fair.

“Taste of Chico is a magnet to experience all of Chico in one confined space,” Papa Jim Secola from event headquarters said.

The event embodied the multi-faceted culture of Chico and provided a special space for the community to come together and appreciate what the city has to offer.

Anisha Brady can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.