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UC Davis Brings Back In-Person Picnic Day After 3 Years

By Sam Swank | April 18, 2022


Categories: Community Featured

The iconic Picnic Day event at UC Davis is finally back in person on April 23! For over a century, the university has invited the public to explore its campus and culture during Picnic Day—complete with a campus-wide parade. 

“Since its inception in 1909, Picnic Day has become the crown-jewel event  of the UC system and the signature event of UC Davis. One of the largest  student-run events in the nation, Picnic Day showcases the richness of diversity  and achievement at UC Davis and the surrounding community in the areas of  research, teaching, service, and campus life.” —Picnic Day Schedule of Events

As one of the largest student-run events in the United States, it was a big deal when Covid halted the event only weeks before its 2020 slot. The Board of Directors at the time scrambled to assemble an online event. Two weeks of quarantine became two years of virtual education and canceled gatherings, and Picnic Day was held online again in 2021.

This year’s theme celebrates fresh starts and renewals. In the November announcement, Chair Amanda Portier says the theme “Rediscovering Tomorrow” captures how “everyone has the opportunity to rediscover what their future holds,” now that Covid restrictions are lifting and life stabilizing.

An opening ceremony for the parade will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 am at the Grandstands on North Quad Ave. From there, the parade will snake through West Quad, Peter J Shields Ave, and around Downtown Davis through Second St and Third St.

Picnic Day Parade, 2017 (Ashley Muir Bruhn)

Highlights include:

  • Doxie Derby at the University Credit Union Center from noon – 2 pm. The event will be livestreamed at [tinyurl.com/108picnicdaydoxiederby] for those who can’t make it.
  • Cow Hand-Milking at the Cole Facility from 10 am – 3 pm.
  • Laser Maze at Kemper Hall 1003 from 9 am – 2 pm.
  • Cockroach racing in front of Briggs Hall from 11 am – 3 pm.
  • Chemistry Show at Peter A. Rock Hall (10:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 am, and 2:30 pm; Free Tix at 9:00 am for first two shows and 11:45 am for second two shows in the Rock Hall lobby)
  • Dog Frisbee Contest at Hutchison Field from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, hosted by the Canine Medicine Club at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Battle of the Bands at Mrak Hall from 2 – 10 pm. Watch bands from as far as Humboldt to San Diego battle UC Davis’ own Marching Band—with music.
  • Chick hatching at Meyer Hall 1330 and chick handling at Meyer Hall 1334 from 11 am 2:30 pm.
  • Davis Dance Revolution at University Credit Union Center from 7 – 10:30 pm. Doors open at 6 pm and you can get tickets here: [bit.ly/ddr2022]
  • Fashion & Design Society’s Fashion Show: Prism at Cruess Hall during two time slots: 11 am – 12:30 pm and 1 – 2:30 pm.

For a full list of exhibits and more information about the day, read the schedule of events available on the Picnic Day website: [https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/schedule-of-events/]

Covid Safety

Additionally, the university officially lifted its mask mandate on March 19, though it continues to recommend masking and require regular asymptomatic testing for staff and students. Anyone entering campus will have to fill out the Daily Symptom Survey for visitors and get “Approved” status. 

Masks are still required in public transit, healthcare facilities, and testing kiosks. Some exhibits and events may require proof of covid vaccination or a negative covid test within the previous 72 hours.

Road Closures

Access to Northbound Hwy 113 from Hutchison Dr will be closed. For more information on detours and other closures affecting Picnic Day, visit: [https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/know-before-you-go/#getting-there-road-closures]. 


Contributed to The Dirt by Sam Swank. She is a senior at UC Davis, double-majoring in Spanish and linguistics.

Find all of the details for Picnic Day 108, held April 23, 2022, at https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/

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