Chico Palio, the official kick-off celebration to Artoberfest -- A Festival of Arts & Culture during October was run Saturday, Sept. 29 at High Noon in Chico's Downtown City Plaza.
The event, which drew crowds of nearly 2,000 people, featured community and neighborhood teams. a couple of REAL horses, pageantry, competition and 32 arts and culture organizations.
The race winners were Efren Topete, 25, and Scott Dinits, 23, from the Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley. The team assembled their horse sculpture with the help of kids and staff within their organization. Dinits told the Chico Enterprise-Record, "We utilizied our resources: chicken wire, duct tape, mops and paint." Coming in second was the Northern California Natural History Museum, which captured first place in last year's competition; and in third place was Pleasant Valley High School's Art Studio team.
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Crowds cheered enthusiastically as the racers crossed the finish line. Other winners on Saturday included the Best Designed Horse, Sisterhood of Creativity and the Best Designed Flag, Weston Thomson. Thomson's flag represented Chico's popular Salmon Hole, while the Sisterhood of Creativity's horse sculpture, Gumby, was "re-conditioned from last year's entry" to resemble a gondolier. Runner up to the winner was Chico Velo's creation, which is on display in the lobby of City Hall through the Month of October; and in third place was the Chico Project's horse, which had $500 cash as its mane and tail.
"Palio" is the name given in Italy to an annual athletic contest, very often depicting historical competitions and involving neighborhoods and communities. The most
famous is undoubtedly the Siena Palio but there are hundreds of others throughout Italy and the surrounding countries. Once purely a matter of local rivalries, European Palios have now become events staged with an eye to visitors and tourists.
In addition to the race, attendees were treated to 12 hours of continuous entertainment including such acts as the Children's Choir of Chico, Jet Fuel Only, Ballet Folklorica, and the Lloyd Family Players who thrilled audiences with their drumming and fire dance routines.
To race a horse sculpture or enter a REAL horse in the next year's Palio, contact:
or call 530-228-2860. Go to www.chicopalio.org for more detail.