Hi ho the derry-o

The Farm City Celebration is in full swing, and it’s a great time to learn about where your food comes from—meaning out of the ground and from the teats of cows, not ye olde supermarket aisle.

The Farmers’ Fair and Country Market is at the Chico Mall on Nov. 9 (pet a goat for me), and the Dog Days of Fall 5K Walk/Run is the same day starting at the Chico State University Farm.

This year, the Nov. 13 bus tour is hitting three stops: There’s Spring Valley Ranch near Butte College, where horses are bred, boarded, trained, conditioned and ridden. Veterinarian Mark Dunlap is an expert in equine reproduction and transports semen and transfers embryos there. The bus will also stop at Skinner Ranch, part of a family farm that has been converted from rice production to pecans in a perfect example of diversification. Also on the tour is Durham-based Pro Pacific Fresh, which you might have seen en route to delivering produce to retailers and food service operators around the North State. Finally, the bus will visit the Western Canal Water District, which watches over long-held water rights.

And, if you’ve always wanted to dance with a farmer, there’s the Harvest Dinner/Dance on Nov. 16 at the Silver Dollar Fair Grounds, which includes a catered dinner and the country-rock sounds of Cottonwood.

Art smarts

Chico and Pleasant Valley High School’s arts teachers and programs are so great, the California Art Education Association not only bestowed the Exemplary Art Program Award upon them; it noted that it is “unprecedented that two high schools, in the same town, receive this prize.”

The association singled out teachers Mike Simpson, Kathy Schulz, Pennie Baxter and Paul Stephens (of Chico High) and Reta Rickmers (of PV) for honors and also complimented the schools’ top administrators, the school board and the community.

Chico High was particularly praised for its use of technology, use of community resources, integration and correlation and sequential program—with the variety of courses offered drawing particular praise. At PV, the association recognized the use of community resources, advanced placement and sequential program.

If you were a high school student when all anyone offered was plain old “art” and maybe “crafts,” the Chico offerings will blow your mind: Try animation, 3-D design and advanced digital photography on for size.

The award will be presented at the association’s conference in Irvine on Nov. 17.

You must lick it

I’ve really got to hand it to our media brothers in radio; they come up with the coolest ideas for promotions. Take the day this was written (Election Day), for example. We’ve been listening to Oldies 102.1 to catch the three songs that can win us $1,000.

But a promo over at Regent Communications really takes the frosted cake. KFM 93.9 on Nov. 6 was set to have 40 finalists lick the KFM van in its “40 Licks” contest to win a ticket to the Rolling Stones concert in San Francisco.

Jonathan Howard, the promotions director, clarified, however: “They’re not actually going to be licking the van because of health issues.” Instead, they’ll press wax lips against the van until only two people are standing.

I think the News & Review should do something like that. We could have people lick the mural of John and Annie Bidwell, or our news rack that someone puked on, or maybe someone who took out a Spicy Personal ad.

Speaking of Regent stations, they really threw me for a loop a couple of weeks ago when STAR 96.7 went from elevator music to "Club 96.7" with full-on hip-hop and R & B. My friends changed their presets, but I’ve kept mine there, and I feel hipper than ever. Change is good.