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Davis, California

Monday, June 24, 2024

Picnic Day celebrates its 101st year

The largest student-run event in the nation plans to showcase UC Davis campus community

One of the most cherished and well-known UC Davis traditions, Picnic Day, is celebrating its 101st birthday this Saturday, April 18.

“Picnic Day is a community and campus celebration of everything that UC Davis has to offer,” said third-year plant biology major and Picnic Day chair Grace Scott. “We have departments coming out and leading events. Student groups are giving information about their [organizations]. There are animal events to celebrate our agricultural roots and all sorts of fun quirky events that make Davis unique.”

The theme of this year’s event is “Heart of Our Community,” through which the event’s staff hopes will bring the Davis community together. Traditionally held on the third Saturday of spring quarter, Picnic Day is the largest student-run event in the country, serving the entire city of Davis and as a homecoming celebration for UC Davis alumni.

“There are over 200 events on Picnic Day,” said Picnic Day advisor Molly Bechtel. “There’s a Doxie Derby at the Pavillion or a completely student led fashion show at the ARC. This is a time for alumni to come back and celebrate being Aggies.”

To kick off the events of Picnic Day is the traditional parade, which has 70 entries this year, including student groups, local businesses and campus departments.

“[Entries] range from bikes of different locomotion to University radio station KDVS. Even the Girl Scouts are walking,” Scott said. “The parade really embodies so many community elements and it’s so cool to see all these puzzle pieces put together.”

Many ASUCD officials will also be partaking in this year’s parade, as Picnic Day is a unit within the Association.

“I’m extremely excited to continue the tradition and even more open it up to commissioners and other members of the senate to be a part of the festivities,” said ASUCD president Mariah Kala Watson. “We’ll be a united ASUCD, supporting one of our units, Picnic Day. I’m overjoyed that we’ll also have access to the big blue fire truck which will surely be a blast to hang out in and wave to the crowd.”

In order to showcase student involvement and interests on-campus, Picnic Day is also hosting their traditional Student Organization Fair on the Quad, where 12 student groups were chosen from a lottery to prepare and serve food as a fundraiser for Picnic Day.

“The Student Organization Fair is an opportunity to highlight the great work that students are doing,” Bechtel said. “There will be over 40 student organizations present at the fair.”

In the past, Picnic Day has faced challenges with safety, specifically surrounding alcohol and violence amongst university students as well as community members. This year, however, many local businesses and Greek life organizations have signed an agreement to help Picnic Day host a family friendly environment.

“The board has been collaborating with [campus police] and the [city police], to help [with] the safety of Picnic Day and the community,” Scott said. “Additionally, the Greek [community] has put out a covenant for the presidents to sign to make healthy and safe decisions.”

“See something, say something,” said Rock Liu, a recent UC Davis graduate and Picnic Day vice-chair. “If you see someone else doing something bad or if any bad situation is going on, you have to report that. It’s not just about yourself in your own bubble being safe and healthy, we have to make sure the whole campus and the whole city is safe.”

This year, there are 16 board members and over 60 assistant directors as well as volunteers and faculty who help plan Picnic Day.

“Each one of them has made their mark on Picnic Day,” Scott said. “These students have put so much time into making this event happen, this event that we put on because we love UC Davis and [to] come together to celebrate what this campus has given us.”

Photos by Katie Lin.


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