A second Picnic Day spent in the pandemic comes to a close
Picnic Day, a yearly UC Davis event, took a different course this year and last due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All official Picnic Day operations were completely virtual, creating a new reality of online activities for students and the community. UC Davis students adjusted to these new circumstances by celebrating Picnic Day safely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Caitlyn Liu, a fourth-year English and communication double major and the Picnic Day Chair, shared that the Picnic Day board operated completely virtually while preparing for the event. Although this is now the second Picnic Day that has taken place virtually, Liu shared that the board worked to create new events specifically designed to the online setting this year.
Liu shared her happiness with the way the event turned out, which mimicked in-person Picnic Day experiences, such as musical entertainment and a scavenger hunt.
“I think the event was a success,” Liu said via email. “For those who wanted to attend a virtual Picnic Day, we gave them the best experience we could.”
In fact, Liu revealed that this year’s event had increased attendance compared to last year’s virtual Picnic Day. While it is not yet known if Picnic Day 2022 will be in-person or virtual, Liu celebrated this year’s success in including students during an isolating time.
“My favorite part was that we got to create an online space for students to continue to feel connected to campus while we’re all away,” Liu said via email.
Yesenia Morales, a second-year animal science and management major, participated in the virtual Picnic Day event this year. While Morales is not currently living in Davis, she was determined to experience this Davis event online. Morales participated in the online activities and said her favorite parts were the animal events.
Morales shared that despite not physically being at Picnic Day, she felt a sense of belonging through the virtual event.
“I still felt a part of this special day through the fun activities such as the exhibits, entertainment and animal events,” Morales said via email.
As a second-year student, Morales has never attended an in-person Picnic Day. Looking toward the future, Molares hopes to one day attend Picnic Day in Davis, enjoying the fresh food from the vendors and spending time with friends and family.
Anya Sturm, a third-year mathematical analytics and operations research major, celebrated this year’s Picnic Day outside with her housemates. She shared that while this year’s experience was not the same as previous years, she felt a sense of solidarity while celebrating the day.
“It felt nice to wake up and be like, ‘Okay, everyone is waking up to Picnic Day, and whatever it looks like for them, it’s still going to be a good day,’ and to know that everyone in Davis was celebrating it in some way,” Sturm said.
Sturm shared that Picnic Day is an important part of the Davis experience, as it’s a day when the whole city comes together to celebrate.
“It’s the day that really makes the Americana old farm town and the college town really overlap,” Sturm said. “I think the rest of the year, it’s very much residents of Davis and college students, whereas Picnic Day is the one day where everyone’s just together.”
Reflecting on her Picnic Day experiences, Sturm looked back to Picnic Day in 2019, when she celebrated with friends in Davis.
“It was just like hanging out with what felt like the entire city in Central Park, and then just going around to various friends’ houses, and all of them had live music and small concerts going on,” Sturm said.
Looking forward, Sturm is ecstatic at the prospect of experiencing Picnic Day in person once again with live music and the Davis community. As the timeline for a return to normalcy remains in the minds of many, Sturm reflected that an in-person Picnic Day next year could be a happy indicator of normal life.
“I feel like Picnic Day is such [a] cool benchmark of like, ‘Well, maybe things will actually look normal by then,’” Sturm said.
Written by: Nora Farahdel — email@example.com