Picnic Day Through the Years


  • 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


  • 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


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


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


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


  • First year the parade had a float


  • First year to include floats on the Schedule of Events


  • Had exhibition stunt/combat flying demonstration


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


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


  • 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


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


  • 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”


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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)


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


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


  • Hog weight guessing contest


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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)


  • 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


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


  • Second cancellation due to rain damage


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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


  • Fraternities and sororities were in charge of clean-up


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


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


  • Cow milking contest held at the capitol in Sacramento


  • Barbershop chorus of 80-100 professional singers


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


  • Bodybuilders competition with students and faculty


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


  • God is listed as being responsible for a sunny day


  • A sheep in the animal events area ran away


  • The Multicultural Children’s Fair was introduced


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


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


  • 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