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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Cap and Gown list

Cheers had the bar, Friends had Central Perk and Gilmore Girls had Luke’s Diner. So, what iconic meeting place does Davis have? The farmers market. Twice a week, rain or shine, vendors and residents gather in Central Park to share in a little small town flair. Anytime I’m asked my favorite thing about Davis, without hesitation I always say that the farmers market is what makes me fall in love with Davis each time I go. There is nothing better than waking up to a sunny Saturday morning and heading over to the far mar” to check out the local flavor (double entendre intended).


One such sunny Saturday sophomore year (and yes, I meant to do that) my friends, Michelle and Brittany, and I happened upon the best farmers market day of the year … Pig Day!


Pig Day is exactly what it sounds like. There are pigs to pet and play with, pig statues at any vendor worth their wares, and even Piglet balloons that take you right back in time to the rainy days you would spend watching Winnie the Pooh videos and fretting about “hephalumps and woozles “. Another iconic Davis figure, my favorite, Steve the apple guy, even gave me a balloon to take home, and I still have it packed in a box for posterity. Standing outside in the glorious sun, watching all the little kids play with the farm animals, I can remember thinking, life is good. After having our fill of the little pigs we headed home, vowing to try and come back again the next time the pigs were in town.


This past Saturday, Michelle and I decided it had been too long since our last all-day hang out and it was time for a reunion. After walking from my apartment in South Davis to the farmers market downtown, we were absolutely giddy with excitement to discover that we had once again accidentally made our way to Pig Day, and this year’s was even better than we remembered.


As I stood watching the little kids with their faces painted like pigs, seeing the pure joy of the Davis community coming together all dressed in pink, was reminded that life is filled with simple wonders. Sure, bad things happen in Davis just like anywhere, and that potential prostitution ring that got busted made us all think twice about what’s hiding behind Davis storefronts. But, any place with an idyllic farmers market where a woman dressed as a human pig is dancing to a folk band’s rendition of Credence Clearwater’s “Down on the Corner” is just fine by me.


There is something magically pure about walking through the farmers market, running into classmates and dormmates and sorority sisters, sampling the delicious Afghani bolanis, the kettle corn, and the fresh fruits and nuts. There is a palpable feeling of community I get when I buy Challah from the same woman every week, or when I wave to Steve and chat over the pink lady apples I’ve come to depend on.


There is something that drew each of us to Davis, and the longer I live here the more I realize that for me it was the town itself and the feeling that maybe life at it’s best, is filled with simple joys. With all the worries and the woes of daily life, and all the confusion of college and the journey toward creating our own identities, it is comforting to have little things to count on. There is a special kind of peace in knowing that the farmers market happens every Wednesday and every Saturday and that you will see the same familiar faces every time you head down the walkway on the edge of the park.


More so than that, for me, is the existence of something that brings both students and residents together. Davis is a college town, complete with people out past midnight downtown wandering in search of curly fries and student discount signs in storefronts all over. But, two days each week, students, professors, and local families who have nothing to do with the university, all gather in the public square in a ritual that brings the community together in a fun, friendly and dare I say it, completely organic way.


EMILY KAPLAN watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Saturday and then had a dream of riding on a parade float. If you want to help make her dream come true, e-mail her at eckaplan@ucdavis.edu.



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