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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Editorial: Picnic Day

The excitement is building as the Davis community prepares for what is both the biggest celebration of the year and one of UC Davis’ most cherished traditions: Picnic Day.

Over 100,000 students, alumni, friends and family will come to campus Saturday to enjoy the parade, live entertainment, educational presentations and more.

Unfortunately, violence and disorderly behavior at last year’s festivities left a stain on Picnic Day’s reputation, leading campus officials to threaten to cancel the event.

Canceling Picnic Day would be extremely foolish. It would damage the sense of community and purpose that Picnic Day fosters. In addition, it would reveal a severe lack of creativity and perspective in addressing what, ultimately, are fairly minor problems at an event of this size.

Nonetheless, Picnic Day should not be a place for violence or lawlessness. It should not be a day for out-of-control drinking and wild behavior. Families should feel comfortable bringing Grandma and the kids to campus. Hippies should be able to walk around barefoot without stepping on broken glass. Everyone should be able to enjoy the event without fear of being harassed or assaulted. 

Picnic Day is a time for us to show what makes us great. By all means, celebration is in order, but we ought to be presenting our best selves – not our blacked-out, vomiting, belligerent selves. 

Already, many Davis businesses have voluntarily committed to limiting their alcohol sales. The city of Davis has instituted a safety enhancement zone downtown and along Russell Boulevard that sets fines at $395 for open container violations, public urination and drunk in public infractions. These are steps in the right direction that we hope will encourage people to limit their alcohol intake and reign in their behavior. 

Picnic Day revelers need to remember that not everyone is here for the party. Drink if you want to, but obey the law and be respectful of others’ experiences. Have fun, and remember that it is up to all of us to preserve the spirit and joy of Picnic Day for future generations.

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