Hi. I’m Walking Bob, and although my youngest grandchild is now fourteen, I like to remind myself of what a great place Davis is to raise young children. Great schools brought us here, but there are so many other reasons that make this city stand out as a safe and exciting place where kids can still be kids.
My most recent reminder came on the 4th of July when I went down to take some photos of the 35th annual Davis Criterium bike races, but got distracted and drawn into the 4th of July Kiddie Parade instead. The Kiwanis Club of Davis has sponsored that event since 1960, but the parade’s full history extends back to 1935 when a couple of sixth grade girls organized the first parade. The Kiwanis Club starts this patriotic celebration early by posting flags across town before the parade, which clearly carries on the red, white and blue theme in every possible way.
Those patriotic colors carry over to half a dozen competitive categories where bicycles, scooters, strollers and other groups are judged by the members of the Kiwanis Club and the Davis High School Key Club to determine which best display creativity and enthusiasm in representing the Independence Day theme. Proud family members are there to capture every moment on their cell phones and other cameras.
Although the parade route is short with the crowds gathering between Second and Third and then marching up C Street to Central Park, that is still longer than the attention span of some of the younger parade entrants. It’s hard to keep that smile on for every photo as kids, and sometimes their pets, wait for the Scouts who lead the parade to get things rolling.
I remember when our grandson eagerly dressed up like Uncle Sam and joined the parade when his was about five or six, and was pleased to see Uncle Sams, Aunt Samanthas, George Washingtons and Abe Lincolns there to celebrate this parade. The patriotic costumes were everywhere, and smiles beamed out from under stovepipe hats and costumes that I’m sure Moms and Dads, and grandparents, lovingly put together.
At the same time as the parade was slowly winding up C Street, bicycles were speeding along city streets a few blocks away. The Davis Bike Club’s Criterium has several adult races that include some of the best riders in California, but they also have races for youngsters from 10 to 14 and from 15 to 19, along with a non-competitive race that even has tricycles negotiating the turns with parents and family members cheering from the sidelines.
Kiddie parades, Celebrate Davis, fireworks, Halloween trick-or-treating in downtown businesses, Tour de Cluck, the Flying Carousel of the Delta Breeze, Picnic in the Park, pancake breakfasts, Explorit, Farmer’s Market, Picnic Day, the California Raptor Center, the U.C. Davis Arboretum, and the list goes on and on. It’s great to be a kid, or just to hang out with some kids, in Davis.