Parent's insider guide: all you need to know about Picnic Day 2024

Picnic Palooza

Picnic Day is on April 20th, will you be joining us? This year's theme is Picnic Palooza. Read on for everything you need to know about Picnic Day: history, can't miss events from previous lineups, parking information, and food recommendations.

This article has been updated as of April 9th, 2024. The information provided is subject to change, so you'll want to be sure to visit the Picnic Day website for more information as Picnic Day approaches. 

Alumni and Affiliate Relations want you to join us for Picnic Day events! You can register and view events here!

History Behind Picnic Day: 

Source: UC Davis photo archives

From the very first Picnic Day in 1909, it has become the crown-jewel event of the UC system and is greatly cherished by UC Davis. It is one of the largest student-run events in the country, and Picnic Day demonstrates the diversity and achievements of the UC Davis community in areas such as research, teaching, service, and campus life. 

The Picnic Day tradition began in 1909 for people to view the University Farm's new dairy barn. More than 2,000 people attended and brought picnics to accompany the coffee, cream, and sugar the University Farm provided. The University Farm continued to sponsor and plan the event until 1912, when Picnic Day planning responsibilities were transferred to the student committee. 

Picnic Day now offers a variety of entertainment for all ages and it is not an event you want to miss out on.

For more information on Picnic Day history, you can visit this website. 

Entertainment Events You Won't Want to Miss: 

The following events are some highlights being offered during Picnic Day. Be sure to visit the Picnic Day Website to learn updates on location and times, as well as view the other events they have planned this year. 

The Doxie Derby:

Source: Guide: UC Davis Picnic Day 2019

The Doxie Derby is one of Picnic Day’s most popular events. At this event, thousands of spectators watch as adorable Dachshund’s race one another to the finish line. This event is hosted by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in order to help them raise funds for their licensing exams at the end of their training. Because this event is so popular, you’ll want to be sure to arrive early so that you can see it in person. If you can’t make it, no worries, because the event will be live streamed so no one misses out on the fun, learn more here!

Doors for the Doxie Derby open at 11am at the University Credit Union Center. Tickets are required for this event.

Animal Events: 

There are many events throughout the day that offer amazing experiences to interact with animals. In the past these events have been a staple of picnic day: 

  • Animal Science Petting Zoo - Cole Facility 10am-2:30pm
  • Frisbee Dog Content - Hutchison field 10:00am-2pm
  • Orphan Kitten Project  - Giedt Hall room 1001 - 10am-3:30pm
  • Dairy Facility Booth - Cole Facility 10am-3pm


Davis Dance Revolution: 

people posing for a dance

Source: Guide: UC Davis Picnic Day 2019

Davis Dance Revolution is the premiere dance crew competition at UC Davis. You won’t want to miss all the amazing performances. Event and Ticket Information: 

University Credit Union Center - 7pm-10:30pm. Event and ticket information can be found here.

Liquid-Nitrogen Frozen Sorbet: 

image of liquid nitrogen-frozen sorbet being made

Source: Guide: UC Davis Picnic Day 2019

The UC Davis Student Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering hosts an event where you can make liquid nitrogen ice cream. This is an exciting opportunity to see this chemical phenomenon take place, and you may even get to enjoy some of it afterwards.  

Bainer Hall Lawn - 10am - 2pm

Laser Maze: 

image of students trying to dodge laser beams

Source: UC Davis photo archives

The laser maze is an exciting event where you get to navigate your way through a maze made entirely from laser beams. You'll want to get there early to avoid the long lines.

Kemper Hall 1003 & 1007 - 9am-2pm

Cockroach Racing: 

people watching cockroaches race

Source: UC Davis photo archives

Cockroach racing is another very popular event hosted by the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association (ESGA). The roaches will be racing all day. Make sure to come out and support your favorite racer.

Briggs Hall Cantilever - 11am-3pm

Children's Discovery Fair: 

The Children’s Discovery Fair offers a variety of fun crafts and activities for children and families to enjoy. 

Time: 10AM - 4PM for All Events 

Give Day: 

Picnic Day is also Give Day. Join us for our sixth annual UC Davis Give Day April 19-20. UC Davis Give Day is a 29-hour online and in-person fundraising drive to support initiatives at UC Davis Health, our veterinary hospitals and the UC Davis campus.

Parade Watching Locations: 

Source: UC Davis photo archives

Picnic Day begins with a morning parade. To see an example of what the picnic day parade is like here is a video of last year's parade

This year's announcing locations are:

  1. Grandstands on North Quad Ave. Across from Veihmeyer Hall.
  2. 2nd and D St. in front of Coldwell Banker Select Real Estate Inc.
  3. F St. in front of PDQ Fingerprinting
  4. 3rd and C St. near Burgers and Brew

The Opening Ceremony is from 9:30am - 10:30am at the Grandstands. 

You can view the map for this year's parade route on the Picnic Day Website. 

Food Recommendations: 

There are a number of eateries available for UC Davis guests, both on campus and in Downtown. There are many popular restaurants in Downtown Davis, including Burgers and Brew, Sudwerk, Paesanos, Woodstock’s Pizza, Crepeville, Davis Creamery, and Cafe Bernardo. 

On campus dining options: 

  • The Coffee House at Memorial Union - Open 9am-5pm
  • Spokes Grill - Open 10:30am-3:30pm
  • Silo (Market, Spokes Grill, The Gunrock, Crepe Bistro)- Open 10am - 3:30pm 
  • Sage Street Market - Open 12-8pm
  • Food Truck Locations - Memorial Union Quad, Hoagland, Silo, California Hall, Cole Facility, Hutchison, Mondavi, Lot 6 
    • All food trucks will have vegetarian options
    • For more information on vendors check out the picnic day website.

On campus coffee locations: 

  • Peet’s ARC - Open 9am - 9pm
  • Peet’s Silo - Open 8am - 8pm
  • California Coffee Kiosk - Open 8am - 3pm

Residential Dining Commons: 

  • Segundo DC  - Open 9am-2pm; 5pm-8pm 
    • Segundo Market - open 9am-12pm
  • Tercero DC - Open 9am-2pm; 5pm-8pm 
    • Tercero Market - open 9am-12pm
  • Cuarto DC - Open 9am-2pm; 5pm-8pm 
    • Cuarto Market - Open 12-8pm

Parking and Shuttles: 

Parking is free on campus all day except in restricted spaces. For vehicle emergency assistance between 8 AM and 5 PM, call TAPS at (530) 752 - 8277. Driving through campus will be very difficult because of how busy it is, and some of the lots are larger and more accessible than others. The parking lots we recommend are the Quad structure, Pavilion, and Gateway. Here is a map of available parking lots around campus: MAP

Please also visit for more information about the bus schedule. On Picnic Day, Unitrans will operate expanded weekend service with some route changes. All regular fares apply, and all Unitrans passes are accepted.

Be sure to refer back to the Picnic Day website for the most up to date information as Picnic Day approaches. 

What to Bring and Weather: 

The average temperature in Davis around Picnic Day is in the high 70’s. Here is a list of what we recommend to bring:

  • Sunscreen 
  • Hat 
  • Refillable water bottle 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Lightweight clothing 
  • Walking shoes 
  • Device to take pictures 
  • Cash and debit or credit card

Important Information: 


The Picnic Day Headquarters is located in the Memorial Union on the 3rd Floor in room 349. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit their office. You can also contact them at (530) 752-6320. 


Picnic Day restroom locations can be viewed on this map.

What is the Picnic Day Parade Marshal? 

The Parade Marshal represents Picnic Day and is selected based on their activity and participation within the community, their positive impact on others, and their embodiment of the theme.

This year's Parade Marshal is Sheri Atkinson. Sheri Atkinson is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life, Campus Community and Retention Services at UC Davis and our new 110 Parade Marshal. Sheri Atkinson earned her master's in higher education and student affairs at the Ohio State University and her doctorate in educational leadership at UC Davis. She has worked in Student Affairs at UC Davis for 16 years. She is currently the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life, Campus Community and Retention Services at UC Davis. 

How is Picnic Day Planned? 

The Picnic Day Board of Directors is composed of 15 student directors who are each responsible for a specific aspect of Picnic Day. This year's Board of Directors includes: 

  • Chair - Bradford Martin  
  • Vice Chair - Mina Sarmah 
  • Animal Events - Sophia Kang
  • Business - Rishita Dwivedi
  • Children’s Discovery Fair - Anvi Kalucha 
  • Entertainment - Jillian Munyon 
  • Exhibits - Rohan Sheth  
  • Graphics - Randy Chang 
  • Operations Director - Cody Young
  • Parade - Sachin Dev 
  • Publicity - Michelle Feng
  • Student Organization Fair - Jovi Stevens 
  • Transportation Director - Harleen Bal 
  • Technical Director - Sanjay Manivasagam 
  • Volunteer Director - Puneet Brar  

To learn about the board of directors and their responsibilities visit this website.  

Fun Picnic Day Trivia Facts:

Are you the ultimate Picnic Day fan? Take our trivia quiz and find out! 

Scroll down for spoilers. 

text that reads "picnic day trivia" along with animated images of a tree, cow, squirrel, and sun


1. Through the years of Picnic Day history, how many times has the event been canceled?

2. In what year did the event first get the name  "Picnic Day"?

3. What year was the first Picnic Day?

4. Since 1959, the parade was extended to include downtown Davis. What happened in 1959 to spur this change?

5. What was the reason for the very first Picnic Day?

6. During the first Picnic Day, Molly the cow walked from Davis (then Davisville) to Berkeley. How long did it take her to walk there?

7. In 1912, what organization took over the task of planning and sponsoring Picnic Day?

8. How many people attended the first Picnic Day?

9. What is the theme of this years Picnic Day?

10. Who is our 2024 Picnic Day Marshal? 


1. Picnic Day has been canceled 5 times

2. "Picnic Day" got its name in 1916 

3. The first Picnic Day took place in 1909

4. Davis became a separate UC Campus and not just the Farm School for UC Berkeley

5. To tour the University Farm's new dairy barn

6. Molly walked for 97 hours

7. The Student Committee took over Picnic Day planning

8. 2,200 people attended the first Picnic Day 

9.  Picnic Palooza is the theme this year

10.  Sheri Atkinson is our 2024 Picnic Day Marshal 

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