On May 16, from 4:30 to 9 p.m., citizens of the City of Davis can head to Community Park at F Street for an afternoon of family friendly fun and to support local businesses at Celebrate Davis.
The 10th annual Celebrate Davis event is put on by the Davis Chamber of Commerce to highlight local businesses. The event attracts 10,000 to 12,000 attendees annually and has over a hundred booths that feature local businesses, nonprofit or service organizations and clubs.
Celebrate Davis originated as the Davis Business Expo in 2003, a similar but more formal event. The event became so popular that it expanded into the popular social gathering that it is today, combining business and fun.
“[It’s] a way for the chamber to facilitate a night where people are encouraged to bike and walk to the park, come together and celebrate all of the best parts about Davis,” said Bob Bowen, the City of Davis public relations manager.
According to Margaret Wong, an event planner for Celebrate Davis, the event is all about promoting what Davis has to offer.
“We advertise for the event locally — it gives our businesses the opportunity to market themselves to a family-oriented audience,” Wong said.
The event is nonprofit and the money earned from the fees charged for booth space goes back to improving the event.
Jennifer Anderson, the owner of the downtown Davis Ace Hardware, considers having a booth at the event beneficial for all businesses.
“[For us] it’s a long term investment in the popularity of the store. It allows us to have a chance to connect with the customers and the community,” Anderson said.
Kid-friendly events include bounce houses, a petting zoo, pony rides, a climbing wall, dunk tank, interactive video games and a skateboard/BMX exhibition.
The music played at the event is young adult-oriented and will feature a Battle of the Youth Bands. Beer and wine booths are also on-site and there are various places to purchase a picnic dinner from a variety of different vendors.
There will also be a fireworks show at 9 p.m. to end the night. The event is held near the soccer field so that there is enough fallout space available.
Heather Mariano, a Davis mother of three, has attended Celebrate Davis for the past five years and said that she loves how everyone can find something to do. Her kids span in age from kindergarten to junior high, and Celebrate Davis has activities for all of them. Mariano said she enjoys herself as well.
“[Some of the kids’] favorite activities include the bouncy house and a game at the Ink Monkey [a graphics screen printing shop] booth, where they throw a monkey through a hoop to get a prize,” Mariano said.
Mariano said that her family stays as long as it takes to get through all of the booths and have a picnic dinner.
“[The] best part is that everyone gets to pick what they want to eat. There’s no deciding who picks what we’re having for dinner,” Mariano said. “Because Davis has such a small-town feel, we often know the people that are working at the booths. I also find businesses that I didn’t know about.”
TAYLOR CUNNINGHAM can be reached at email@example.com.