Adventure Awaits: Picnic Day 2019

TREVOR GOODMAN / AGGIE

Theme, grand marshal announced for annual event

The 105th celebration of Picnic Day will be held on Saturday, April 13, during which an estimated 75,000 past, current and prospective UC Davis students along with faculty, staff and Davis community members will partake in a myriad of festivities.

The theme for this year’s event will be “Adventure Awaits,” and this year’s parade marshal is professor and planetary scientist Sarah T. Stewart, a recent recipient of the MacArthur Genius Fellow grant.

“The theme captures both that Picnic Day itself is a day of adventure, exploration and opportunity and that coming to Davis for school is an adventure in its own right,” said Elise Pohlhammer, a fourth-year human development and psychology double major and Picnic Day chair, in a press release.

Aaron Garcia, a third-year psychology and communication double major and the Picnic Day publicity director, explained the meaning behind this year’s theme.

“When we were looking at past Picnic Day themes, we saw a lot were sentimental and serious themes,” Garcia said. “Last year’s theme [was] ‘Where the Sun Shines’. We wanted to continue with that fun, bright uplifting theme of representing Davis and the community.”

Garcia said that the theme was chosen to also represent “the characteristics of being fun and playful, and for people to reflect on their past, present or future adventures” at UC Davis.

In an interview with The California Aggie, Pohlhammer said Picnic Day 2019 will offer a variety of activities, including the return of the Children’s Discovery Fair, aimed at entertaining and engaging all attendees, regardless of age.

“There is a children’s fair, so children can stop by and do arts and crafts,” she said. “This year, we are doing a lot more sensory and interactive games and planning for an ‘Angry Bird’ type of interactive game.”

The proposed expenses for this year’s events will be $37,253, $1,200 of which will be for transportation and $2,200 budgeted for publicity. $3,000 will also be used for t-shirts for volunteers, and $2,800 will be allocated to sound equipment.

The expected income is $48,000 — generated through business sponsorships and food sales.

Bringing Picnic Day to fruition and ensuring it runs smoothly is a team effort. 15 student directors were recruited for Picnic Day, including hires for the animal events, Children’s Discovery Fair, entertainment and parade publicity. An estimated 80 assistant directors will also help with the event.

Bryan Perez, a third-year political science and managerial economics double major, was involved in last year’s Picnic Day through his position as a former ASUCD student senator. Perez said he participated in the event by being physically available onsite, starting at 6:30 a.m.

“If you see what people are doing and if you see how passionate they are doing their jobs, it rubs off on you, and you will feel passionate too,” he said.

The annual event consistently sees a significant number of alumni return to campus.

“Alumnae get to come back and explore the campus from a different point of view,” Pohlhammer said. “You get to come back and see how much the campus has changed since they have been here. It’s just a chance to come and see what the campus looks like and be reminded that this is a tradition that has been going on for 105 years.”

For Pohlhammer, who lived in the Bay Area and drove by UC Davis as a kid, the event is a good chance for prospective students to become acquainted with the university.

“The first time I really came to campus and thinking that I might go to UC Davis was [because of] Picnic Day,” she said. “For potential students, Picnic Day is a way to see the diversity of scientific endeavors as well as cultural experiences that will be offered.”

Picnic Day will be preceded by a pre-week — which changed from five days to two days — aimed at getting students excited about Picnic Day. The pre-week will take place on the Quad and will feature an interactive animal exhibit, cultural presentations and performances and both a sports day as well as a Greek day, aimed at UC Davis Greek Life, Pohlhammer said.

More information on Picnic Day 2019 is available on the unit’s website.

Written by: George Liao — campus@theaggie.org