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Davis, California

Monday, May 20, 2024

Picnic Day takes Davis by storm

Lines filed out of the front entrance of G Street’s Woodstock’s Pizza from noon until closing time as the restaurant seated at full capacity the entire day, said Woodstock’s Manager Bobby Fields.

“It was insane,” he said. “We had the biggest sale in Woodstock’s history on [this year’s Picnic Day].”

It wasn’t just Woodstock’s.

Picnic Day 2010, the 96th annual Picnic Day, strangled the streets of downtown Davis with parties, crowds and lines for restaurants and frozen dessert parlors alike. It was busy to an extent such that neither Cultivé Frozen Yogurt, Yoloberry nor Baskin Robbins had time to comment on the event as Picnic Day’s increased demand for frozen goods carried over full-force into Sunday.

At Ben and Jerry’s on First Street, Picnic Day was employee Sabrina Jefferson’s second day on the job, and she enjoyed serving the throngs of customers awaiting frozen treats on what was a comfortable 75-degree day.

“It was crazy, but at the same time, it was a lot of fun,” she said, adding that she did not mind working on Picnic Day because it is an all-day event that could be enjoyed at night.

The Davis Graduate on Russell Boulevard opened at 6 a.m. to meet the demands of early risers that wanted to take advantage of the bar’s one-dollar beer promotion.

Like Jefferson, manager Kenny Jessen found satisfaction in dealing with the increased foot-traffic.

“I have to prepare two weeks in advance [for Picnic Day] due to the fact that we’re so busy,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but in the end it is well worth it.”

Others like Rose Vo, concierge at D Street’s Best Western Palm Court Hotel, said that working Picnic Day is not as enjoyable as experiencing it.

“Everybody hates working on Picnic Day; a lot of people requested off,” she said. “[There’s] a lot of garbage, a lot of pollution [on] our property, a lot of dirt going in, a lot of throw-up [and] a lot of alcoholic drinks.”

Employees and staff members may attempt to request off on Picnic Day, but policies at certain restaurants and bars require them to work in some capacity.

“Of course, nobody wants to work on Picnic Day-they’d rather be partying and having a good time,” said Woodstock’s Fields. “Here we have a policy: Everyone who works here is scheduled for one shift on Picnic Day.”

In an article posted on the UC Davis news and information website, UC Davis Police Lt. Matt Carmichael estimated that Picnic Day 2010 attracted an audience of about 75,000 people. Officers from the UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco Police Departments joined the UC Davis officers in keeping order on campus.

Off campus, the streets kept police officers busy.

“Most of our officers didn’t have time to write citations for littering [and other offenses],” said Davis Police Department Lt. Tom Waltz. “I noticed numerous accounts of people urinating on store fronts.”

For the Davis Police Department, Picnic Day presented a particularly harrowing case of felony battery. In addition to the 371 calls for service and 33 arrests during the Police Department’s Picnic Day “operational period,” a fight between 10 and 20 individuals broke out at 5:50 p.m. near The Davis Graduate, Waltz said.

As a police officer attempted to break up the fight by restraining one individual, another tackled him.

“Luckily some citizens stepped in and pulled the second subject off of him,” Waltz said.

The officer sustained several abrasions and a neck injury that warranted a visit to the emergency room, where he was treated and released later that night.

A Street apartments convulsed with raucous partygoers, with one party’s pink entrance sign reading, “21 and over; no high school sluts.” Another downtown house party featured a live band, an inflatable swimming pool and a dozen attendees dangling their feet off the protruding roof of the façade.

From the artificial horse insemination at the Horse Barn Area to “Doxie Derby” wiener-dog races at the Pavilion, UC Davis’ Picnic Day fostered its traditional family-friendly atmosphere. But sophomore Spanish and communication double major Kristiina Arrasmith said she found it odd that so many people were getting drunk on such a family-oriented day.

“You never see that many parties in Davis and then you bring all these families [on Picnic Day] and there’s all these drunk people,” Arrasmith said. “It just seems there are better days to be drunk.”

Senior managerial economics major Bill Kneapler said Picnic Day is the perfect mix of family and college fun. But he acknowledges alcohol is part of the experience, as well.

“It is the defining element of Picnic Day for college students,” he said.

YARA ELMJOUIE can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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