I can’t believe it’s time to say goodbye to 2015! Totally cliche, but true. It’s certainly that had its ups and downs, as every year does. But working for FresYes, I have the pleasure of seeing more than ever all of the amazing, wonderful, good things that happen in Fresno. So this New Year’s Eve, I would like to present five of the Best FresYes Moments of 2015.
One: Fresno Grizzlies Win the National Championship
I know my bias is showing here, but of course I had to mention this one first. I am still so unbelievably proud of our boys! (And yes, I will call them “ours.”) When the Giants left town and the Astros organization came in, the Grizzlies front office promised a season of great baseball that would still be worth watching. And man did this team deliver! Not only did the Grizzlies win the National Championship – they got their first Pacific Coast League title as well. The success lead to Manager Tony DeFrancesco being named the 2015 Minor League Manager of the Year and the Grizzlies being named 2015 team of the year..
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies front office did an amazing job of making Chukchansi Park a fantastically fun place to be. Promotions like the Fresno Tacos gear and Frankenslice pizza made headlines across the country. In fact, the annual Taco Truck Throwdown won the Golden Bobblehead Award for Best Theme Night. And in his first year as General Manager, Derek Franks was named PCL Executive of the Year.
So a big congrats to the Grizzlies for their great season from all of us at FresYes. Definitely one of the proudest moments in Fresno this year! You can find out more information about next season on the Grizzlies website.
Two: Opening of Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s African Adventure
If you haven’t visited the new African Adventure area at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, do it now! (What are you doing still reading this?! GO!) But seriously. I cannot say enough about how amazing it is. It’s worth the price of my annual membership just to be able to eat lunch at the Kopje Lodge whenever I want. Consuming surprisingly delicious food while looking out at a savanna full of rhinos and elephants? Count me in! (Get the garlic knots. Trust me!) And the new giraffe feeding experience is absolutely incredible.
Three: Re-Opening of Rotary Storyland
It was a sad day when it was announced that Rotary Storyland/Playland was in trouble. But the aftermath revealed just what big hearts Fresnans have. People stepped up to save the beloved parks in all sorts of ways. A new board spearheaded the fundraising and renovation efforts that are still ongoing now. Volunteers helped revitalize Storyland, which was the priority for re-opening. And money poured in to make it all happen.
Happily, Storyland re-opened in September and is better than ever. But the board won’t rest on their laurels; they’re already planning other improvements, including bringing back old structures, like Jack & the Beanstalk, in a new way. Additionally, plans are under way to re-open Playland in April. You can go to the Storyland website to find out more about what you can still do to help!
Four: Big Grant for Fresno Bully Rescue
Fresnans also helped propel another local non-profit to a big win in 2015. Fresno Bully Rescue is a no-kill shelter dedicated to saving bully breed dogs. This year, associates who work at the local Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) store at the Villagio Shopping Center and also volunteer for Fresno Bully Rescue nominated the organization for DSW’s Shoe Lovers Care grant. After the group was chosen as a finalist, people in Fresno stepped up to support them to the tune of 103,000 votes!
The $75,000 that Fresno Bully Rescue received from DSW as the winners of the grant will go toward the building of a newer, better shelter. But the organization still has quite a ways to go in order to achieve that goal. You can make a donation here and find out more about the shelter here.
Five: A Generous Tip at House of JuJu
But in the end, sometimes it just takes one act of kindness to make a difference. Such was the case at local Clovis restaurant House of JuJu this summer, when a young man anonymously left a $585.50 tip on a $14.50 bill, bringing the total of his burger and soda to $600. The server who received the big tip decided to split it among the eight staff members. House of JuJu’s owner told The Fresno Bee that this was just the latest example of giving at her popular restaurant, where customers once started a weeklong pay-it-forward movement on other people’s bills.
It’s a nice way to remind us that there are good people out there. And you may not be able to afford such a generous act, but there is always something you can do to inject a little sunshine into someone’s day no matter where you are. Be nice to your server! Pay for someone’s drink in the Starbucks drive-thru! You never know what a difference you can make in someone’s life. (Incidentally, House of JuJu is AMAZING. You can read my full review of their food here.)
So Happy New Year, FresYes readers! Thank you for all your support this past year. Here’s to striving to be our very best selves in 2016!