Save the date – Apr. 17, 2010 – for the 96th annual Picnic Day, titled, “Carpe Davis: Seizing Opportunities.”
The theme was chosen by the 2010 Picnic Day Board of Directors based on what Picnic Day and UC Davis represent, said Monica Lindholm, director of Picnic Day 2010.
“We wanted a theme that had a sense of action in it, something that can hopefully encourage Picnic Day visitors to truly take advantage of the diversity of opportunities that are available, as well as to showcase those individuals who are already showcasing it,” Lindholm said.
Picnic Day officially begins when the parade rolls through downtown. The parade typically has somewhere between 30 and 40 entries that showcase various organizations, the majority of which are Davis organizations or clubs. Parade Director Martha Chan recommended that first-year students come to the parade to preview organizations at UCD they may want to get involved with.
“The parade showcases every department on campus, and really shows how talented UCD people are,” Chan said. “There are all kinds of random dance groups and things people do that are only visible to the entire campus on this one day a year.”
The 2010 edition of Picnic Day has the unique responsibility of ushering in the next century of UC Davis tradition, said Ashley Khawsy, vice chair of the Picnic Day board of directors.
“This Picnic Day offers the board of directors a special opportunity to set the stage for the next one hundred years,” Khawsy said. “In celebrating the centennial last year, Picnic Day 2009 was centered around reflecting and reminiscing, but with Picnic Day 2010, we hope to inspire new traditions while still holding our old ones dear.”
Yet the more the event originally hosted to celebrate a barn changes, the more it remains the same. Its main events – The Doxie Derby, Multicultural Children’s Faire, and Cow Milking Contest – have significant connections to the Davis Community.
“The Doxie Derby is one of our signature events,” Khawsy said of the race to be the fastest short-legged dog in Davis. “Anyone who’s ever visited Picnic Day knows that the Derby is the event to see.”
The Multicultural Children’s Faire is a family zone that caters to Davis’ youth. The area provides a number of crafts, games and activities from a vast array of cultures that are sure to keep kids occupied, Lindholm said.
Chan is partial to the Cow Milking contest, which pits community figures in a competition to see who can crank udders the fastest.
“We’re such a heavily agricultural school and city, that it ties in with the whole history of Davis,” she said. “And you know cow milking is a funny way to show our farming influence.”
Khawsy said the strength of the annual display of diversity and history that is Picnic Day is verifiable by the event’s attendance, which nears up to 100,000 attendants.
“We have an innumerable amount of alumni come to Picnic Day year after year, residents of the city who have grown up with the event in the city and even some out-of-state visitors!” Khawsy said. “In a way, it seems like coming back to Davis for this one day allows visitors, particularly Davis members and alumni, to come back to their roots.”
MIKE DORSEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.