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Party time in Davis

Annual UCD Picnic Day mooves along

By Dixie Reid -
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, April 18, 2008

It's been a long time since a cow named Molly walked from Davis to Berkeley to promote the first Picnic Day. The poor thing was on the road for four days.

But 99 years later, Picnic Day – the annual one-day open house hosted by the University of California, Davis – needs no bovine publicity stunt to attract a crowd. As many as 60,000 people are expected to participate in Saturday's chock-full-of-fun festivities, most of which are free.

This year's theme is "A Kaleidoscope of Voices."

"One reason we picked it," says event vice chairman Joey Almario, "is to emphasize the diversity of the city of Davis and the UC Davis community."

Picnic Day, first held in 1909, is purported to be the largest student-run event in the United States.

"We're not sure if we still have the title." says Almario, "But, who knows? No one has informed us differently."

He is one of 20 UC Davis students who have planned a day to end all days, from the Cal Aggie Alumni Association's annual pancake breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. to the Battle of the Bands and the Davis Dance Revolution!, both of which will go on into the evening.

In between are such crowd favorites as the Doxie Derby dachshund races, sheep dog trials, a fashion show, moot court competition, crafts projects for kids, sporting events (polo, water polo, lacrosse, rugby and soccer), lectures, music, dance, a multicultural children's fair and a chance to design your own tie-dyed T-shirt.

The official kickoff to Picnic Day is the 9:30 a.m. opening ceremony at the grandstands on North Quad Avenue, across from Wickson Hall. Charles Bamforth, Virginia Hamilton and Andrew Waterhouse will be honored then as Picnic Day's first class of distinguished faculty members.

The Cal Aggie Band-Uh! follows with a street performance that will launch the start of the Picnic Day Parade.

The parade marshals are TV chef and cookbook author Martin Yan, a UC Davis alum, and International World Female Beatbox Champion and singer Butterscotch (Antoinette Clinton), a Davis native who was a finalist on "America's Got Talent."

The parade, with its marching bands, floats and elected officials, will cover a 1 1/2-mile route through campus and onto Davis' city streets, says Sarah Teheri, parade director.

She has lined up 76 entries. Staffed announcing stations in four locations along the way will keep parade-watchers apprised of who and what they're seeing.

Teheri is from Davis, and she attended Picnic Day long before she became a student at the university.

She and her fellow organizers expect a lot of former students to return for the day, along with prospective students and their families, and ordinary citizens from throughout Northern California.

"I think Picnic Day is a prime opportunity to see what our campus is about, not just educationally, but the social side, as well. All of the departments will have exhibits, showing what they've been working on. There will be a lot of entertainment. Young kids can do crafts. Teens can listen to the bands.

"I think the day calls out to families," she says.

Picnic Day

WHEN: Various times Saturday

WHERE: University of California, Davis

ADMISSION: Free (fees for some events)

INFORMATION: (530) 752-6320,

Picnic Day highlights

Here are some highlights of UC Davis Picnic Day. For a full schedule and transportation information, go to

25th annual Cal Aggie Alumni Association Picnic Day Pancake Breakfast – Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! performs for diners, 7:30-9:30 a.m., Freeborn Hall. $12 general, $8 ages 13-21, $5 ages 5-12

Ant farm models – Sponsored by the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Veihmeyer Hall

Animal biotechnology display – Cloned cow and sheep, transgenic goats, and animal biotechnology exhibits, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Cole A

Petting zoo – 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Cole A

Cow milking – 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Cole A

Kids' crafts – Make a lava lamp or bouncy ball with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Bainer Hall front lawn

"Beach Birds for Camera" – Choreographer Merce Cunningham's 28-minute film screened on a loop, 10 a.m-1 p.m., Mondavi Center's Studio Theatre.

"Make a Colorful Splash" – The multicultural children's fair, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Hart area

Kronos Quartet – 11 a.m., Perelman Deck, Mondavi Center

Design by Design Students Competition – Fashion and graphic design and interior architecture, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 142 Walker Hall

39th annual Irving L. Neumiller Memorial Moot Court Competition – Student advocates argue Second Amendment and federal pre-emption questions before a mock U.S. Supreme Court. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 1008 King Hall

Police canine demonstration – Noon-1:30 p.m. and 2-3:30 p.m., Russell East Field

Frisbee dog contest – Noon-1 p.m., 4-5 p.m., Hutchinson Field

Sheep dog trials – Noon-4 p.m., Hutchinson Field

Afternoon Brother – Innovative music. Noon, Grandstand Stage

"Sartorial Mischief" – Runway Designers Club's annual fashion show showcases seniors' collections, noon-2 p.m., Freeborn Hall

35th annual Doxie Derby – Dachshund races, 1-4 p.m. Activities and Recreational Center (ARC) Pavilion

Aggie Vaulters Present Gymnastics on Horseback – 1-4 p.m., Equestrian Center front area

Women's field hockey – UC Davis vs. Chico State, 1-4 p.m., A Street Field

Chef Martin Yan – cooking demonstration, 1:10-2 p.m., Cruess Courtyard

Draft horse demonstration – 2-3 p.m. Cole A Arena

Battle of the Bands – UC Davis Aggie Band hosts other West Coast university bands in competition. 2-9 p.m., Lake Spafford/ Arboretum

Antoinette "Butterscotch" Clinton – beatbox performance, 2:10-2:25 p.m., Main Stage (Quad Stage)

"Beer, Beauty and Biochemistry" – Dr. Charles Bamforth lectures on beer as "the basis of civilization," 2:30-3 p.m., Wellman 106

UC Davis Gospel Choir – 2:30–2:45 p.m., Freeborn Hall

Students vs. Alumni Polo Match – 3-4 p.m. Cole A Arena

Two Sheds Out of Sacramento – Indie folk band. 3 p.m., Grandstand Stage.

Alas, Alak, Alaska – Avant garde orchestrated "folk explosion." 4 p.m., Grandstand Stage

4th Annual Davis Dance Revolution! – UC Davis dance groups compete for $1,000. 7:30 p.m., Freeborn Hall. Tickets $12 at the door ($10 for students). Information: (530) 752-1915.

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