FIRST Place: Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT)
With Chico in the midst of a housing crisis and homelessness the issue foremost on the city’s agenda, the life-changing and life-saving work performed by CHAT’s volunteers is more important than ever. The nonprofit provides housing, including a program specifically for displaced fire victims. It distributes food and furniture and offers hope for those in need.
SECOND Place: Butte Humane Society
2580 Fair St., 343-7917
THIRD Place: Catalyst Domestic Violence Services
330 Wall St., Ste. 50, 343-7711
FIRST Place: Thursday Night Market
Though extreme heat and wildfire smoke caused certain days to be canceled, the downtown tradition that is Thursday Night Market carried on this year from May through September. Vendor booths lined Broadway between Second and Fourth streets, while food trucks parked along the block by City Plaza. After a year of minimal socializing, Chicoans got out again Thursday nights.
SECOND Place: Stonewall Chico Pride
THIRD Place: Saturday Farmers Market
Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Second & Wall streets, chicofarmersmarket.com
FIRST Place: Hype Dance Studio
1033 Mangrove Ave., 898-8789
Dancer/choreographer Sarah Schneeweis has owned Hype Dance Studio and been its Fusion dance team’s creative director for 17 years. In that time, she’s developed her Chico school—teaching styles from ballet to hip-hop—into one of the top 50 studios in the country, according to Dance Spirit magazine.
SECOND Place: North State Ballet
2400 Notre Dame Blvd., 774-2364
THIRD Place: Chico Creek Dance Centre
1144 W. First St., 893-9028
Farmers’ Market Vendor
FIRST Place: GRUB CSA Farm
3269 W. Sacramento Ave., 680-4543
This community supported agriculture group provides fresh food to members as well as to customers at Chico farmers’ markets. GRUB growers never spray pesticides, herbicides or fungicides on the produce, much of which can’t be found in supermarkets.
SECOND Place: Live Life
220 Broadway, 566-3346
THIRD Place: Chico Chai
1919 Park Ave., 897-0822
Golf Course – Regional
FIRST Place: Bidwell Park Golf Course
3199 Golf Course Road, 891-8417
COVID prevented many golfers from celebrating the course’s centennial on the links last year, but they’re making up for lost time. The North State gem, opened in 1920, is beloved for its sprawling, varied layout with Upper Park views. As part of Bidwell Park, it’s public, so no membership required for country club amenities: the course, pro shop, bar and grill.
SECOND Place: Butte Creek Country Club
175 Estates Drive, 343-7979
THIRD Place: Canyon Oaks Country Club
999 Yosemite Drive, 343-2582
★FIRST Place and Living Legend (five-year winning streak): Mike “G-Ride” Griffith
Anyone who’s been in downtown Chico knows Mike “G-Ride” Griffith. This bonafide Chico personality is perhaps best known for his rockin’ pedi-cab that’s often heard (from blocks away!) before it’s seen. (His fleet has grown over the years to include a trolley.) When he’s not working, he’s often found volunteering at local events.
SECOND Place: Linda Watkins-Bennett (Action News Now)
THIRD Place: Grandmaster Farshad Azad
FIRST Place: Lindsay Briggs (Chico State)
Beyond the Chico State campus, Lindsay Briggs may be most known for unapologetic activism. On campus, she’s acclaimed for her dedication to students and colleagues. A tenured professor in the department of Public Health and Health Services Administration, she rates consistently high with students who take her classes—95 percent of whom say they’d do so again.
SECOND Place: Sanjay Dev (Butte College)
THIRD Place: Janet Lombardi Blixt (Chico Art School)
Martial Arts Studio
FIRST Place: Azad’s Martial Arts Center
313 Walnut St., Ste. 150, 892-2923
Grandmaster Farshad Azad has practiced martial arts for more than 40 years, earning multiple black belts and creating two of his own forms, Jungshindo and Shimkendo. He and his instructors enthusiastically teach beginners and experts alike at the studio that continually draws disciples—and Best of Chico honors.
SECOND Place: Morning Sun Martial Arts
181 E. Ninth St., 342-5833
THIRD Place: Americana Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
13306 Cabin Hollow Court, 519-2099
Place for Family Fun
FIRST Place: Bidwell Park
Annie Bidwell’s gift to the city is often called “the jewel of Chico”—for good reason. There’s a place in Bidwell Park for everyone in the family. Locals love a dip in Sycamore Pool or a journey into Upper Park for a more adventurous water outing. Caper Acres offers endless playground fun. Picnic and barbecue setups make get-togethers easy as pie. Quiet benches and shady trees nurture quiet contemplation.
SECOND Place: FunLand/Cal Skate Chico
2465 Carmichael Drive, 343-1601
THIRD Place: Rare Air Trampoline Park
1090 E. 20th St., 433-5557
Place to Pray/Meditate
FIRST Place: Bidwell Park
See Place for Family Fun.
SECOND Place: Center for Spiritual Living Chico
14 Hillary Lane, 895-8395
THIRD Place: Sky Creek Dharma Center
120 Three Oaks Court, 893-8088
FIRST Place: KZFR (90.1 FM)
Since 1990, when it started its own programming, KZFR has been an independent platform for the Chico community—providing an outlet for those who want to share their voice and ideas. Shows range from local news to gardening to reggae music. KZFR doesn’t stop at 90.1 on the FM dial and kzfr.org on the internet; the station is also an active participant in the community.
SECOND Place: North State Public Radio, KCHO (91.7 FM)
THIRD Place: 103.5 FM The Blaze (KHSL)
FIRST Place: Jennifer Rossovich (Hooker Oak Elementary School)
A former winner in this category as a core educator in Hooker Oak’s Open Structure program, Jennifer Rossovich has taught in the Chico Unified School District since 1989. Known for being a kind and gentle leader, and for always holding her students to high standards, she’s recognized by both parents and students as an excellent teacher.
SECOND Place: Erin Hall (Inspire School of Arts & Sciences)
THIRD Place: Jim White (Inspire School of Arts & Sciences)
FIRST Place: Christian Hammond – Unofficial Butte County COVID-19 Dashboard (BC19.live)
Chico native Christian Hammond brought his Bay Area tech skills home via the internet to help spread vital information about COVID-19. His dashboard consolidates data updates; those who follow Hammond on Twitter (@chipx86) know he puts a ton of effort into the purely volunteer endeavor. And in August, he launched a new project (BC19.live/schools) tracking cases in local schools.
SECOND Place: Lisa Currier, Crisis Care Advocacy & Triage
THIRD Place: Farshad Azad
FIRST Place: Yoga Center of Chico
250 Vallombrosa Ave., Ste. 150, 342-0100
Practitioners of the discipline already know—and know what it means—that Yoga Center of Chico offers yoga in the Krishnamacharya tradition, emphasizing Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga-based Vinyasa Yoga. Novices just need to know that this studio continues to be recognized for its excellence.
SECOND Place: Hot Yoga Club of Chico
1140 Mangrove Ave., Ste. B, 321-0611
THIRD Place: In Motion Fitness
1293 E. First Ave., 343-5678
FIRST Place: Boys and Girls’ Clubs of the North Valley
601 Wall St., 899-0335
More than 2,000 children who participate in Boys & Girls’ Clubs events and programs benefit from the dedication of over 500 people—mostly volunteers—to the enrichment of their lives through education and mentorship. With activities ranging from sports to homework help, it’s no wonder parents and teachers continually point to the nonprofit as Best of Chico.
SECOND Place: Chico Area Recreation and Parks District (CARD)
545 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-4711
THIRD Place: 6th Street Center for Youth
130 W. Sixth St., 894-8008
More Best of Chico 2021:
Best of Chico 2021: The Comeback
Best of Chico 2021: Readers’ Choice winners: Goods & Services
Best of Chico 2021: Readers’ Choice winners: Food & Drinks
Best of Chico 2021: Readers’ Choice winners: Nightlife & The Arts
Best of Chico 2021: Readers’ Choice winners: Health & Wellness
Best of Chico 2021: Critics’ Choice winners