UC Davis celebrated its 96th annual Picnic Day last month on Saturday April 17th. Picnic Day began in 1909 when the University wanted to showcase the new dairy barn. The attendees in 1909 capped at about 2000, all with their picnic lunches ready to enjoy the open house and activities. This years attendees were estimated near 100,000 all with their expectations of the wonders to be seen from the many campus departments and of course with their picnic lunches. It is safe to say that Picnic Day has caught on and continues to be a succes for UC Davis.
Since it’s inception Picnic Day is a celebrated Davis area event that marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the commitment of the University to the local community. It gives the University a unique opportunity to reach prospective students, alumni and community residents offering them much more than just a campus tour. An added bonus is that there is no entry fee and all the parking on the campus is free for the event.
Davis’s Dairy barn and it’s Animal Sciences department showcased their programs with demonstrations in cow and goat milking, weighing in on a battered steel scale against a heifer, introductions to the newest foals and kids of the season, and the benefits of laboratory animal sciences. One of the favorite events is the cow milking contest that pits city officials against one another to see who has the fastest hands on the udders. The campus academic programs are at the forefront of technology and are deeply seeded in giving back to the local farming communities while teaching and conducting research to ensure their students and programs in these fields continue growing.
It was a wonderful way to introduce our four year old son to the animals and the University and for my husband and I to enjoy all the diverse exhibits . I decided that I wanted to explore the area of the campus that started this annual tradition. We spent a great amount of our day where the original horse barn still stands at the Cole Facility of buildings, and with the staff and animals of the UC Davis Animal Sciences departments. We enjoyed touring the barns and getting up close and personal with the animals, and thank goodness that the weight of my combined family still didn’t reach the 541 kilograms of the heifer known as Legendairy.
This year’s theme was Carpe Davis: Seizing Opportunities. The campus and the many departments did just that with this traditional family friendly event. By the end of the day my son was astounded by all he had seen and promptly asked us “Can we return to visit this wonderful campus again soon?”
It was an opportunity we seized to attend the event and take advantage of all the campus and Picnic Day has to offer, and we definitely plan on adding it to our annual schedule.
For more information on UC Davis Picnic Day please visit: http://picnicday.ucdavis.edu