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An Insider's Guide to Picnic Day 2022, With Student Chair Amanda Portier

Welcome Back!

Spring has sprung, and that means Picnic Day is just around the corner! This always-anticipated event is back in person for its 108th run after two years online, ready to welcome a whole host of Aggies who have never attended Picnic Day on campus. Featuring an insider’s perspective from Student Chair Amanda Portier, this guide is here to help prepare the newbies and remind the veterans. Scroll through for planning advice, safety tips and event info!

Key Info

What: Picnic Day is an all-day open-house event featuring most everything that UC Davis has to offer! Band battles and chemistry experiments alike all work to showcase Aggie spirit all across the campus.

When: Saturday, April 23, 2022, 9:30 AM–5 PM

Where: All over our campus! Browse a PDF copy of the official Picnic Day events schedule on the website.

A person reads the 2019 Picnic Day guide
Picnic Day 2019 (UC Davis/Gregory Urquiaga)

How To: Plan for Picnic Day

What should you definitely have in your bag?

"It will be a long day in the hot, sunny spring of Davis, so be sure to pack sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, and maybe a hat and sunglasses to block the sun. In true Picnic Day spirit, bring a picnic blanket to enjoy some food and music on the grassy space on the Quad or Sciences Lab Patio."

Do you have any advice on how to fit everything in?

"I would definitely recommend planning your day out in advance when our Plan Your Visit website page comes out! [UPDATE: The Plan Your Visit page is now available] This page will feature our digital Schedule of Events which contains anything and everything happening on Picnic Day. It’s organized by event type (Animal Event, Exhibit, Entertainment, etc.), and there is also a table of events organized by time. Not all Picnic Day events have the same timing–some are running all day while others are only a few hours and some even have specific showtimes."

"I’d recommend looking through the Schedule of Events and picking out some events that really excite you and mapping out your day according to the times the events are available. Make sure to schedule in some time for walking since our campus is so big! Also, be sure to set aside time to check out the awesome food trucks, enjoy our live entertainment performances and discover our student organizations at the student organization fair. It can feel a little overwhelming to rush to fit it all in, but just remember at its core, Picnic Day is a day full of joy and celebration of our Davis community."

Amanda Portier poses for a headshot

Amanda Portier, Chair of the Board of Directors for Picnic Day 108

Meet Amanda, a fourth-year Community and Regional Development major with a minor in Statistics—and chair of this year’s Picnic Day Board of Directors. Picnic Day is one of the largest student-run events in the nation, so we turned to Amanda to get the inside scoop on how to get prepped and what to look out for with this year’s triumphant return to campus.

Keep scrolling for some insightful day-of advice, as well as a peek into what it's like for the student board to plan Picnic Day!

A girl milks a cow at Picnic Day
Picnic Day Dog

In the Know: Get the Most Out of Your Day

What are some must-visit events you have to see before the end of the day?

"A few of the most iconic events are the Parade, the Doxie Derby, cockroach racing, the Chemistry Magic Show, the Fashion Show, the Battle of the Bands, Nitrogen Ice Cream, our Student Organization Fair and our live entertainment stages. These events have been favorites for years and are fun for all ages. If you have little Aggies with you, our Children’s Discovery Fair is also a must-see!"

Anything particularly new or exciting this year?

"I think the first in-person Picnic Day in nearly three years will feel fresh and new to all—participants and attendees alike. Most students have never seen an in-person Picnic Day and many event participants are carrying on traditions from past event organizers with their own new and exciting twists. So, although many events are returning, they’ll feel brand new as we return to Picnic Day once again!"

Picnic Day parade 2019
Picnic Day 2019
The Doxie Derby dogs begin their race at the 2018 Picnic Day
Picnic Day 2018 (UC Davis/Gregory Urquiaga)

What It's Like: Planning Picnic Day with the Board of Directors

How has it been serving as Picnic Day Chair? Do you have a favorite part?

"Serving as this year’s Picnic Day Chair is an absolute honor. It has been so amazing to see the Davis community come together for this event from all our community and campus participants, to our campus partners, to the extremely dedicated students on the Board. Every person I interact with is just so excited for Picnic Day to be back in-person once again and so generous with their time and help. This experience has reminded me how community-oriented UC Davis is and how meaningful this event is for our community–and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to shape this event. 

As for my favorite part, I have to say it has been watching the Board develop as a team and watching individual students grow in their positions. I’ve always been so impressed that students lead this amazing event each year, but this year is particularly special as the majority of students planning the event have never even seen an in-person Picnic Day."

How did you and your team decide on this year’s theme?

"This year’s theme is intended to inspire hope among our community beyond just the day of the event. The past two years have reshaped our past, present and future. We wanted our theme to honor these challenging times while inspiring feelings of hope, optimism and growth to adequately match our excitement for Picnic Day. We selected ’Rediscovering Tomorrow’ because right now, everyone has the opportunity to rediscover what their future holds. 

This theme also honors Picnic Day 106 and Picnic Day 107, which were conducted virtually the past two years. Their themes were ‘Envisioning Tomorrow’ and ‘Discovering Silver Linings’ respectively. We feel that “Rediscovering Tomorrow” captures both that Picnic Day itself is a day of exploration, discovery and opportunity and that life right now presents endless opportunities for reimagining our futures. At Picnic Day, alumni, students, faculty and community members come together to celebrate this amazing school and community. With the first in-person Picnic Day in nearly three years, every attendee can experience Picnic Day with fresh eyes and rediscover their tomorrow at the event."

A 2019 Picnic Day board member talks to Gary May before the parade
Picnic Day 2019 (UC Davis/Gregory Urquiaga)

Staying Safe

The UC Davis Fire Department helps an injured Picnic Day attendee
Picnic Day 2013 (Martin Wong)

Picnic Day is a great opportunity to learn more about UC Davis while having some fun in the sun, so don’t miss this spring celebration! Follow @ucdpicnicday on Instagram for official Picnic Day updates, and follow @ucdavis.life for more student events and opportunities. Check out the official ASUCD Picnic Day website for more information.

Picnic day bus window 2
Happy Picnic Day 2022, Aggies!