Countless Ways to Have a Festive Picnic Day

110th Campus Open House Carries ‘Picnic Palooza’ Theme

Memebers of the Marching Band perform at the Picnic Day parade
The opening ceremony for the Picnic Day parade is set for 9:30 a.m., with the parade scheduled to begin at 10:15, at the grandstand across from Veihmeyer Hall. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The “Picnic Palooza” is ready to kick off at the 110th Picnic Day this Saturday (April 20), and there are plenty of ways to celebrate.

The annual campus open house is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to UC Davis for activities, performances, animal events, research exhibitions, giveaways, food and more. It is believed to be the largest student-run event in the nation.

Young (and young at heart) attendees can get into the spirit of this year’s theme, “Picnic Palooza,” by making party hats and balloon animals between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Children’s Discovery Fair outside of Hoagland Hall.

As the official Picnic Day program reminds attendees: “No palooza is complete without party hats.”

Person watches chicks hatch
Attendees can watch chicks hatch in Meyer Hall rooms 1330 and 1338, then handle them in room 1338. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Then, wish a happy birthday to some chickens at the ever-popular hatching exhibit from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Meyer Hall rooms 1330 and 1338.


“Visitors can walk around to view chicks actively hatching from eggs in tabletop incubators, where other posters and displays will be shown,” the program explains. “Volunteers from the lab will be present to answer questions and keep an eye on the incubators.”

There will be plenty of ways to wish a happy 30th birthday to Robert Arneson’s Egghead sculptures, which are enjoying their own yearlong celebration. A new behind-the-scenes display featuring small prototypes, “Hatched: The Making of Robert Arneson's Eggheads,” can be seen in the lobby of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

 Shirt with Picnic Day logo
Picnic Day merchandise is available from UC Davis Stores.

Licensed Egghead merchandise will be available for sale outside the museum and in the Campus Store in the Memorial Union. The bookstore, along with its downtown companion, will also be selling Picnic Day merchandise bearing this year’s festive logo — a Unitrans bus and campus water tower, both in party hats.

Picnic Day merchandise is available online and in-store from UC Davis Stores until the day of the event, when it will only be available in person.

So much to do and see

Student carries dog at Doxie Derby
Tickets for the Doxie Derby are sold out, but the event will be streamed online. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Organizers estimate a 30% increase in the number of activities at Picnic Day this year, and a near-doubling of the number of participants in the Student Organization Fair on the Quad. That fair will include free carnival games.

“Our community has come closer together and we hope to do the same for all of Davis on Picnic Day,” said Bradford Martin, chair of the Picnic Day Board of Directors.

Many perennial favorites will return: the laser maze in Kemper Hall, the chemistry show in Rock Hall, cockroach racing outside Briggs Hall, and giveaways of tomato plants, strawberry plants and popcorn at the Plant and Environmental Sciences Building. Cow milking will not be offered this year.

Tickets are still available for the Fashion Show and Davis Dance Revolution. Tickets for the Doxie Derby are sold out, but the event will be livestreamed.

Many will start their day with the Picnic Day parade, led by parade marshal Sheri Atkinson, associate vice chancellor for student life, campus community and retention services in Student Affairs. The parade’s opening ceremony is set for 9:30 a.m. at the grandstand on North Quad Avenue, across from Veihmeyer Hall. The parade is scheduled to start at 10:15 at the same location, and will follow a route into downtown Davis and back onto campus.


Organizers work with the UC Davis Police Department and others each year to ensure a safe Picnic Day.

First aid assistance is available at the Fire Department.

New this year, visitors can text UCDPICNIC to 888777 to opt in to receive any UC Davis WarnMe and Aggie Alert text messages.

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is the editor of Dateline UC Davis and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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