Peaceful Davis picnicking
University of California, Davis Picnic Day 2012 came and went, and for the most part, both Davis and outside participants “handled their shit,” much to the pleasure of the Davis authorities. While much of the Picnic Day coverage focuses on crime statistics, it is well worth noting that for the vast majority involved, Picnic Day was a lovely day spent out-of-doors.
Events were spread around the town and on campus this past Saturday and included enormous variety in terms of entertainment. The day started off with crowds flooding into Downtown Davis for a morning parade. From there, locals and visitors spread throughout the area looking to get their fix of sunshine, music and food.
The UCD Quad hosted student groups selling food, beverages and snacks of all kinds. Attendees enjoyed cantaloupe juice, chicken satay and ice cream, to name a few, while watching live entertainment on one of four stages that hosted bands, musical theater, a capella groups and dance throughout the day.
While most students spent the morning lingering and lounging on the grassy lawn, others headed to UCD athletic facilities to take in a track and field meet, an alumni soccer game, a lacrosse match or one of many other athletic demonstrations or competitions.
Bugs! was the buzzword of the day for most kids at the 98th Picnic Day, although there were so many family-friendly events it was likely they spent their whole day trekking from one side of campus to the other. Many families headed to the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) Pavilion or Hutchinson Field for the Doxie Derby and Frisbee dog competition, respectively. Others went to Briggs Hall to watch cockroach races, ponder maggot art or pet and hold walking sticks before heading over to visit the apiculturists for a taste of honey. The Multicultural Children’s Fair at Hoagland Hall had another 20 or 30 entertainment possibilities as well.
The Chemistry Magic Show was a hit, as always, with just one notable mishap that occurred when an explosion was a bit too grand.
The annual Battle of the Bands went on for hours, and hundreds of spectators lined the grassy Arboretum hill to watch. While the University of California, Berkeley went home early, the remaining five bands powered towards the tentative end time of 10 p.m. This year’s participants also included the University of California, Irvine; University of California, San Diego; Humboldt State; Stanford University and the largest group, the UCD Band-uh. As usual, bandmembers’ attire left no room for imagination. Music selections spanned from the classic “Wipeout” to Lady Gaga. Perhaps the best part of the show was the cool shade provided by the well-developed natural setting and the beautiful backdrop that Lake Spafford provided.
As the sun set on Davis, picnickers migrated back to their homes or towards downtown for the evening hours. Due to the many new zero-tolerance policies and safety precautions, a number of businesses downtown closed early while others never opened on Picnic Day at all.
The city of Davis had prepared for the event by sending out a strong no tolerance message to all potential participants. Area police forces, city officials, businesses and student organizations all took part in the effort to make Picnic Day 2012 a problem-free event.
Overall, the message got across and many Sacramento and Davis locals chose not to participate, stating that the event would be, well, boring. It is possible that both Sactomofo and the causeway holdup of April 20 affected the number of incoming visitors as well.
Boring, it was not. For most, Picnic Day was a great time and just a sunburn away from being a perfect day.