It’s that time of the year that everyone in the Davis community has been waiting for. The one Saturday that students actually look forward to waking up early is here. That’s right, Picnic Day 2012 has arrived.
Picnic Day is back this April 21 to celebrate its 98th anniversary. Throughout the year, a board of 16 undergraduate directors has worked to plan and put on this one-of-a-kind event to showcase everything that UC Davis has to offer.
“Picnic Day is just a day for everyone to come together,” said Picnic Day chair and senior environmental toxicology major Jennifer Mappus. “It’s a day where community members, university officials and staff and students work together to put on this amazing event and have a good time. It’s truly amazing to see everyone come together to put on such a great event. It’s all about Aggie pride and UC Davis.”
The day kicks off with opening ceremonies at 9:27 a.m. on the North Quad. The annual Picnic Day Parade follows shortly after, beginning at 10:10 a.m.
“This year we have 70 entries, and they are all either student groups, groups on campus or groups in the surrounding community. We’ve got floats, vehicles, marching bands, people on unicycles and much more. It’s a good event to see, definitely, on Picnic Day,” said Jonathan Wu, parade director and junior biological sciences major.
For the rest of the day, students, community members and visitors can roam about the campus checking out over 200 activities and events hosted by UC Davis staff, faculty and students.
With hundreds of events to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what to do before the day’s end, but take a breath, grab a schedule of events and just find what sounds interesting.
“It’s impossible to see everything on Picnic Day, but one of the benefits is that we do have it posted online. So you can determine what you’re interested in and what you want to see,” said Picnic Day publicity chair and senior English and comparative literature double major Ascha Rothe.
The typical fan favorites that continue to draw lots of picnickers each year are the Doxie Derby, Sheep Dog Trials, Chemistry Magic Show and Sledding Hill — must-see events for Picnic Day goers.
“I also highly recommend Battle of the Bands, which will take place at Spafford Lake in the Arboretum from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., where the Aggie Band-uh! will be battling it out with university bands from all over California,” said Lauren Young, fifth-year senior animal science major and special events director, in an e-mail interview. “I’m really looking forward to the Sledding Hill, because how often do we get snow in Davis?!”
While most things stay the same from year to year with Picnic Day, this year’s visitors can expect a green-friendly environment.
According to Mappus, the board of directors developed a greener approach to planning this year’s Picnic Day. The Multicultural Children’s Faire will be holding several recyclable events and there will be more compost bins on campus.
Similar to last year, safety of everyone partaking in Picnic Day activities is an important aspect to the continuation of this historical day.
The Safety Enhancement Zone is now extending from the railroad tracks to Anderson Road and from First to Eighth Street. Police will be stationed downtown and in surrounding areas. Additionally, the zero-alcohol policy on campus is still in effect and bike police will be around campus all day.
As usual, Unitrans will be offering a special Picnic Day schedule, available on the Unitrans website, and all passengers must pay $1 cash fare throughout the day.
The schedule of events for Picnic Day is available online at the Picnic Day website and a Picnic Day app will be available for download the day of, with which students can access general information happening throughout the day.
With a sunny forecast and a multitude of activities to do and events to see, Picnic Day 2012 is sure to be a blast.
“I’m looking forward to everyone coming and enjoying the day,” said Mappus. “Honestly, that’s why I’m here and why all the directors are here. We just want to see the event be successful and people to be happy and have fun.”
The final Picnic Day Preweek events include the mini-carnival today and the Entertainment Showcase on Friday, which will feature various musical acts.
MICHELLE MURPHY can be reached at email@example.com.