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Plan Your Virtual Picnic Day

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Culture, On Campus

The 107th Picnic Day is upon us, Saturday (April 17), with the theme “Discovering Silver Linings,” reflecting the campus community’s ability to make the best of things during the pandemic — like keeping the Picnic Day tradition going.

Yes, it’s virtual for the second year in a row. But here’s the — you guessed it — silver lining: You can participate wherever you happen to be, while enjoying the sights and sounds of campus on your computer or phone. The student organizers have lined up more than 100 activities, presentations and exhibits — some live, some you can watch anytime — including animal events, the Children’s Discovery Fair and entertainment. See a sampling of the program below.

Meet the Picnic Day Marshals

Join Lawrence “Torry” Winn and Maisha Winn, founders of the Transformative Justice in Education Center, for a discussion on building community and exploring root causes of racial inequality. 11 a.m.-noon, Thursday, April 15. Click for more information and the registration link.

Early start

For an early start to the festivities, check out Doxies and Brews (featuring a trailer for the new Doxie Derby “mockumentary”) and the Fashion Show, both happening Thursday night (April 15). Come Saturday, you can watch the Doxie Derby video in full, as well as a recording of the Fashion Show.

For an early start on Picnic Day itself, consider attending the Pancake Breakfast. You’ll be making your own pancakes, but you’ll have the company of hundreds of your fellow Aggies and others.

UC Davis Give Day, which has accompanied Picnic Day for five years now, starts at 5 p.m. Friday and continues into Picnic Day. (See separate story, including the video, “We’re Greater Together on Give Day,” narrated by Chancellor Gary S. May.)

Doxies and Brews

The Cal Aggie Alumni Association has organized a sneak peek of a Doxie Derby “mockumentary” followed by a virtual tasting of Sudwerk Brewing Co.’s Doggy Daze West Coast IPA and Gunrock Hazy IPA, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Admission is free, but a couple fundraising components benefit second-year veterinary students (Class of ’23): Make a purchase from Woodstock’s Pizza and buy some of the featured Doggy Daze IPA or Gunrock IPA to go with your food, and you’ll help the vet students pay for their licensing exams upon graduation. Both Woodstock’s and Sudwerk will donate a portion of their proceeds to the Class of ’23.

Notes: The Woodstock’s offer runs from noon to 9 p.m. Thursday; mention the fundraiser when you order. The deadline has passed to have the IPA shipped to your home in time for Doxies and Brews, so if you’re interested, go to the Sudwerk Dock Store, 2001 Second St., Davis.

In a normal year, the second-year students would raise money from Doxie Derby sponsorships. This year, the students are relying on traditional T-shirt sales, along with Doxies and Brews and a first-time GoFundMe account.

Now, for Sportscast: Doxie Derby, the mockumentary, showing how the doxie-athletes are spending their time off (courtesy of clips sent in by their owners). “Some doxies are in training, some are relaxing,” said Emily Bingham, who enrolled in the vet school after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from UC Davis in 2018. “We even have a guest appearance from Dean Lairmore.”

You can watch the trailer during Doxies and Brews, and see the entire video on Picnic Day (link to be posted on the Picnic Day website).


Fashion Show

This event normally brings a rush for tickets. This year, simply log on from home!

Presented by the Fashion and Design Society and featuring clothing collections created and executed by 10 students in the Department of Design’s “Signature Collections” course.

“This year, DES 179 Signature Collection students not only displayed their creativity with their collections, but also with the videos they developed for our very first virtual Fashion Show,” said Gozde Goncu-Berk, assistant professor of design.

“During the 10-week online class, the students created their garments in their home studios, and the results are designs that range from avant-garde sculptural looks to whimsical silhouettes. Zero-waste designs, 3D fabric manipulations, couture patterns and functionality are some of the highlights of this year’s virtual Fashion Show.”


Pancake Breakfast

The Cal Aggie Alumni Association, in conjunction with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Sciences, brings back the Picnic Day Pancake Breakfast. This family-friendly event will feature live cooking demonstrations and tips on how to make the best pancakes. “Once breakfast is ready, we will virtually mix and mingle with fellow Aggies via Zoom,” the organizers said. Pancake shopping list and more details will be sent to all registered participants before the event. All Aggies (alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, retirees, and emeriti faculty) are welcome. 9-10 a.m. Saturday. Register here.

The rest of the day

Here’s a sampling of the program:

  • Animal events — Life as a UC Davis Beef Cow; Living With African Grey Parrots; The Sea-sational Scientists and Fin-tastic Creatures of Bodega Marine Lab and Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute; and Driving Gentle Giants (draft horses). And don’t forget the Doxie Derby mockumentary.
  • Children’s Discovery Fair — Science Trivia and Games for Kids; Children’s Books by UC Davis Students to Teach Science and Inspire curiosity; and Speech Science: How Do We Talk to Amazon’s Alexis vs. a Human? Plus Picnic Day Presents, separate sessions on lava lamps, slime and animal paper plates.
  • Entertainment — Brazilian Tropical Show: Capoeira and Samba Rhythms; New Harmony Jazz Band; and the UC Davis Marching Band’s 2021 Picnic Day Show: “What I Did in Quarantine Is …”). Also, two student a cappella groups: Lounge Lizards (“I Want You Back”) and Liquid Hot Plates (“I Have Nothing”).
  • Exhibits — A New Greenhouse for Chocolate; Coffee Lab Virtual Tour; Explore the Tree of Life; Animal Biotechnology Virtual Engagement Session; Growing Better Together: Finding the Silver Linings Through Nature (Arboretum and Public Garden); Bohart Museum of Entomology: All About Butterflies; Cockroach Racing; Lights, Color and Energy: Chemistry Research for a Brighter Tomorrow. Also, Virtual Picnic Day Parade, UC Davis Trivia and the “Uncharted” Fashion Show.


Traditionally, Picnic Day is a time to gather with friends, but keep in mind the following restrictions:

  • On campus — No events or gatherings are allowed (with limited exceptions).

Off campus, students who live in Yolo County are subject to the county’s orange-tier guidelines (effective April 15):

  • Indoor — Strongly discouraged, but permissible with restrictions.
  • Outdoor — Permissible, maximum 50 people, with restrictions.

See Campus Ready’s “Events and Gatherings” guidance.

Picnic Day resources

  • Safe celebrations Tips from the Picnic Day Board.
  • Picnic Day Pledge Including “conduct myself responsibly.”
  • Safe Party Tips on reducing the risks of alcohol-related problems (personal and legal) and how to keep your party from ending on a low note.

Look for the complete list of events and all the links on the Picnic Day website, Saturday morning (or perhaps as early as Friday evening).