Ninety-eight years ago, freshmen snuck out of their dorms wearing pajamas to welcome the first set of alumni at the train station for Homecoming weekend.
Today, one of UC Davis’ oldest traditions lives on as Pajamarino. This event will kick off Homecoming festivities tomorrow, beginning at 5:45 p.m. at the Davis Train Station.
“Pajamarino is an important Aggie tradition because it is one of the few traditions on campus that connects current students with prior generations,” said Shannon Liu, UC Davis alumna. “It creates a common bond.”
Liu, a 2009 graduate in exercise biology, attended Pajamarino from 2005 to 2008. Although she is not able to return for this year’s event, Liu remembers Pajamarino as one of the hallmarks of her experience in Davis.
“When alumni come back to campus, there are certain things they remember: Picnic Day, the Aggie, sports, the quad and Pajamarino,” Lui said. “It is a piece of UC Davis history that makes our school unique and it’s something that we need to remember and be a part of.”
Although now pajama-optional, many of the first Pajamarino’s features remain, such as providing milk and cookies for the returning alumni. Other events are added on this year, such as live performances by the Liquid Hotplates, Elite Dance Group, Lounge Lizards and the UC Davis Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh.
“The Band-uh is going to march from one of the housing complexes on campus, down through downtown to the Amtrak station by 7 p.m. to greet the alumni when the first train comes in,” said Brittany Dibb, Pajamarino director for the Student Alumni Association (SAA).
Good surprises often occur at Pajamarino, Lui said. In the past, the Band-uh took detours around campus in their trek, such as giving a surprise appearance in the 24-hour room in Shield’s Library.
“A favorite memory that I have is Pajamarino 2008, Centennial Year. The Alumni Band-uh got off the train and the current Band-uh was shocked,” Lui said. “They had no idea.”
Woodstock’s, Dos Coyotes, Davis Creamery and Vitamin Water will be providing food and light refreshments early on in the evening. Other events include a pie eating contest, pajama parade, creative PJs contest and craft stations for younger participants.
Of the 500 to 600 people who attend Pajamarino, many are community members, Dibb said. SAA promotes the event to elementary schools in Davis to improve community relations.
“Pajamarino [allows] students, alumni and community members to come together to celebrate a UC Davis tradition,” said Lui , who now attends graduate school in Chicago for biomedical science. “The community of Davis is very special and to have the ability to bring these three groups of people together at one event truly shows Aggie pride.”
SARAHNI PECSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.