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Davis, California

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

UC Davis hosts 105th Picnic Day celebration

Community open house is one of the largest student-run events in the nation

Adventure awaits at UC Davis’ 105th annual Picnic Day, which will kick off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 13. Bringing the Davis community together since 1909, Picnic Day is one of UC Davis’ longest-running traditions. This year, the event organizers are expecting crowds of more than 50,000, all eager to experience more than 200 engaging and interactive events.

Picnic Day is one of the largest events hosted by any UC school and is one of the largest student-run events in the nation. Elise Pohlhammer, a fourth-year human development and psychology double major, leads the Picnic Day Board of Directors as chair. Along with 15 other student directors, 75 assistant directors have been working for the past year to make the aspirations for Picnic Day a reality. On Saturday, Pohlhammer’s team will also be working with an additional 300 student volunteers to help oversee the day’s events.

This year’s Picnic Day theme is Adventure Awaits. Student directors collaborated to come up with a theme that embodies the adventure guests will embark on at Picnic Day as well as the adventure students experience while attending UC Davis. Pohlhammer and her team were drawn to the theme because of its different meanings for different people. Pohlhammer has been involved in Picnic Day organizations since her freshman year and commented on what the theme means to her now, during her final year at UC Davis.

“Even when you leave Davis, adventure is still out there,” Polhammer said. “If leaving Davis is part of your next adventure, like it is for me, there is always more out there and Davis has been such a great part of the adventure so far.”

Over the past decades, Picnic Day has become one of the signature events that sets UC Davis and the community of Davis apart. This day of celebration will include 100 different exhibits hosted by UC Davis academic departments, animal events, the children’s discovery fair, the student organization fair, entertainment stages and many other attractions.

While guests will be able to revisit many of their favorite performances and events this year, some of the biggest changes made by board members will be things guests will not experience.

“This year we really want to focus on improving the logistics for the day of Picnic Day,” said Aaron Garcia, a third-year communication and psychology double major and Picnic Day publicity chair. “We want to decrease the lines for food trucks and have more options available.”

Events will kick off in the morning with the annual parade and opening ceremony, followed by activities and performances throughout the afternoon. Many of the community’s favorite traditions are returning this year, including the battle of the marching bands, the doxie derby race, the chemistry magic show and the cockroach races, among many others.

Third-year animal science major April Yoshihara has taken over the reigns this year as director of animal events. There will be more than 40 different animal events and booths including the Canine Medicine Club’s frisbee dog contest, chicken hatching and cow milking. Many animal events have become favorite Picnic Day traditions for guests that return every year to experience them again.

“I’m looking forward to the UC Davis Center for Equine Health to bring some of their draft horses out on Hutchinson Field,” Yoshihara said.

Each year, a community member is selected to serve as parade marshal “based on their active participation in the community, their positive impact on others and their embodiment of the theme,” according to the Picnic Day website. This year, the board chose Sarah T. Stewart, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at UC Davis. Stewart was recently awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellow grant and has been applauded for her recent work where she “offers a revolutionary and innovative theory as to how the Moon was formed from the Earth.”

In addition to more than 40 campus-affiliated organizations and departments, members of Davis’ local government as well as the fire and police department have come together to support this student-run open house celebrating the legacy and future of UC Davis and the Davis community.

Written by: Ally Russell — campus@theaggie.org


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