Picnic Day Through the Years

1909

  • The first ever Picnic Day was celebrated between faculty members and students
  • For publicity, Molly the cow walked from Davis (then Davisville) to Berkeley, taking 97 hours
  • More than 2,200 people attend
  • Ceremony lasted 11am-12:30pm. After 12:30, people just hung around and had a picnic at Dairy Barn
  • University supplied coffee and cream, people had to bring own cups and spoons

1910

  • Celebration upon the completion of new buildings
  • 12-2, the bachelor girls club of davis served lunch for a small fee
  • After lunch at 2, they talked about the new buildings (the dining hall, the vet science building, etc)
  • The band play for the rest of the day

1912

  • A student committee took over the task of planning and sponsoring Picnic Day
  • Livestock parade

1915

  • 5,000 people gathered to enjoy the picnicking and square dancing at the University Farm

1916

  • Attendance tripled to 15,000, far outnumbering the 314 students hosting the event
  • Jousting contest!
  • First time called “Picnic Day”

1917

  • First year the parade had a float

1918

  • First year to include floats on the Schedule of Events

1919

  • Had exhibition stunt/combat flying demonstration

1921

  • Pete, Molly the cow’s son, attempted to break his mother’s record of 97 hours and 11 minutes walk from Berkeley to Davis

1922

  • Program: fat men’s’ race, boys’ 3-legged race, pie eating contest (boys), baseball throwing contest, tug-o-war, greased pig race

1923

  • Program: irrigation demonstration, butter-making demonstration, lasted 9am-10pm (ended with supper dance)
  • Committee of Chairman (Board of Directors): finance, labor, reception, refreshments, athletics, dance, circus

1924

  • An outbreak of hoof-and-mouth diseases among the cowherds caused the first cancellation of the event

1925

  • Committee of Chairman: Women’s Activities, Stunts, Clean-up, Demonstrations
  • Program: Baby Show, 3 dances: “Old Timers”, Alumni, and modern, popular dance (students); “Gun Rock”

1926

  • Committee of Chairman: awards, decorations, deputations
  • Program: water fight in “Quadrangle”, first one with ads

1927

  • The county Board of Supervisors petitioned for Picnic Day to be a holiday, though this was later denied
  • Committee of Chairman: (interesting positions) 1. Womens Activities, 2. Dance, 3. Stunts
  • Events: Greased Pole Climb, Mule Riding contest
  • Free Buttermilk served in the Dairy Industry Bldg, all day
  • Sections for “Facts about the College of Ag”
  • Eight Ring Circus
  • Tree Judging and Diary Judging

1928

  • At this time, UC Davis was still “the only strictly agricultural college in the US”
  • There was a train to go from exhibits to exhibits to minimize walking

1929

  • Facts on University farm: 1. 1100 acres of land, 2. Used for teaching and researches on agricultural problems
  • Had a special “Picnic Days of the Past and the Present”
  • Events: Cowboy Pageant, Farmertte Contest Questionnaire (chosen based on the females basic farm and household knowledge, basically a pageant also, ages 12-21)

1930

  • Map in brochure
  • We had a “Glee Club”
  • Enrollment: 276 – non degree students, 134 – degree students, also have the count of number of livestock

1931

  • Souvenir brochures costs 10 cents each
  • The Associated Students Store sold tobacco

1932

  • Hog weight guessing contest

1933

  • Had a bacteria counting demonstration in the Dairy Industry Building and Plan Breeding demonstration in the Truck Crops Class Room Building
  • Showcased a cow with window in stomach in the Animal Sciences Building
  • Had a rodent (rats and mice) control demonstration/informational
  • Had a fashion show where South Hall girls modeled newest sportswear, street dresses, and afternoon and evening frocks, demonstration of bee handling
  • Parade was in the afternoon from 1:45-2:45pm
  • Only one woman on board, Bernice L. Fry who was in charge of Women’s Activities

1934

  • Only one woman on board, Alta Eggert who was in charge of Women’s Activities
  • 100 staff members, 436 students (180 degree students and 256 non degree students)
  • 6 buildings

1935

  • Classes were cancelled the day before Picnic Day so that students could help prepare for the event
  • 8 students rode on horses from Davis to Sacramento to invite the Governor to Picnic Day
  • 507 students total (338 non degree students, 137 degree students, 32 graduate students), still 100 faculty members
  • Display of weed control equipment
  • They gave more attention to the educational exhibits designed to show a few samples of what the research staff is doing to solve farm problems (showed off pens of chicks to illustrate the rapidity with which young chicks show the effects of a deficiency of vitamins B and G in their diets, flowers, soils, truck crops which had a large outdoor planting that was in full bloom by Picnic Day)

1936

  • High School bands had to camp on hay because there were no other available accommodations
  • Special Event: Alumni meeting
  • Food sold at event: punch, ice cream, hot dogs, iced milk, iced butter-milk, popcorn, box lunches, and chocolate milk
  • 939 students, 130 faculty members…a new high record!
  • FIRST YEAR IN INTRODUCING the division of home economics, girls showed off what is useful, labor saving, and beautiful in kitchen utensils and equipment, showed how a table should be set, taught hand weaving so you can show off your swagger throughout spring

1937

  • Special Event: Alumni meeting
  • Student attendance reached 1,333 and about 100 of these were women= very satisfactory

1938

  • Second cancellation due to rain damage

1939

  • There was a military science exhibit where people would demonstrate how various weapons were used
  • Horse show from 2:30 to 5:00 and it seemed to be one of the main attractions of Picnic Day.
  • There were officially 1310 students enrolled in UC Davis

1940

  • A new gymnasium had just been finished being built for Picnic Day
  • There were two dances held. There was an “Old Time Dance” from 8:30 to 12:00 in the old gymnasium and there was a “Modern Dance” in the new gymnasium

1941

  • There were pigeon races that kicked off the start of Picnic Day. At 9:00, in the middle of the Quad, pigeons would race from Davis to Merced (136 miles) and from Davis to Glendale (65 miles). There was also a race from Davis to San Francisco

1942 – 1944

  • Army Signal Corps controlled the campus and Picnic Day cancelled

1951

  • Students pushed wheelbarrows to Berkeley for publicity
  • Governor Earl Warren (Warren court, ended segregation in schools) came to Picnic Day!

1954

  • Fraternities and sororities were in charge of clean-up

1972

  • The Wiener Dog Race (now the Doxie Derby) was first introduced

1982

  • Parade route is shorter to be more campus oriented.
  • Precision briefcase performance in the parade

1983

  • Cow milking contest held at the capitol in Sacramento

1984

  • Barbershop chorus of 80-100 professional singers

1985

  • Moot court at King Hall where 4 law students debated on the separation of church and state

1986

  • Bodybuilders competition with students and faculty

1987

  • Started an hour later than usual at 10am.
  • The first-place float of the Alpha Phi ended up in flames

1988

  • God is listed as being responsible for a sunny day

2001

  • A sheep in the animal events area ran away

2003

  • The Multicultural Children’s Fair was introduced

2007

  • Due to rain, all outdoor animal events were canceled. The parade continued as always.
  • Non-Profit Organization Fair was introduced

2009

  • UC Davis celebrated its Centennial, and Picnic Day was selected as one of the three major events for the Centennial celebration

2011

  • Tom & Meg Stallard, who served together on the Picnic Board of Directors in 1968 and the 2010 Parade Marshals, created the Friends of Picnic Day endowment with their recognition from the The Charles J. Soderquist Award