Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bob Dunning: Maybe we can get the old spirit back


From page A2 | April 19, 2013 |

FLOATING ALONG … as you may have read in this very newspaper under the byline of Anne Ternus-Bellamy, several neighborhoods in our town are busily engaged in a friendly float-building contest for Saturday’s Picnic Day Parade … while only two neighborhoods, Central Davis and East Davis, took the challenge to build floats this year, I’m certain the day is coming when at least a dozen Davis neighborhoods will get in the spirit once they see how much fun the Central Davis folks and the Easties are having with this year’s floats …

I can envision the day when folks in Woodland, Winters and West Sacramento will wish to enter floats in the Picnic Day Parade … actually, I can’t envision any of those cities ever building floats, but as the Rev. King famously said, I have a dream …

EVEN MORE FLOAT-WORTHY FACTS … while exact details of the Central Davis and East Davis floats remain a state secret, Ternus-Bellamy was allowed exclusive access to both camps and reports that the floats are taking shape nicely … the Central Davis float reportedly features a clever model of an old-fashioned Kodak Brownie camera and will provide “snapshots” of people in the neighborhood, which should make Mr. Rogers happy … but who knew that a Kodak Brownie camera was old-fashioned? …

The East Davis float, under lock and key in a closely guarded service bay at Vander Hamm Goodyear, is themed “East Davis: where the sun rises first.” … it is rumored to feature such East Davis landmarks as Toad Hollow, Davis Waste Removal and George’s Corner … as I understand it, the Central Davis crew planned to pass out freshly baked brownies to the crowd in keeping with the Kodak Brownie theme, but the Picnic Day Parade Committee specifically bans passing out anything to the crowd, especially brownies … the parade committee also killed plans for those riding the East Davis float to pass out dollar bills along the parade route so revelers could pay a visit to the Dollar Tree and help boost the East Davis economy …

Both float-building groups fear what a 45-mph north wind could do to their intricate and delicate works of art, but not to fear … the weather gods have assured sunshine and stillness for Picnic Day morning …

MEMORIES OF PICNICS LONG AGO … Davis icon Cathy Speck writes to say “When I was growing up at 903 Oak Avenue just a few blocks from the UCD campus, the only day that was more exciting than Picnic Day was Christmas Day.” … my thoughts exactly, Cathy … “And the special Saturday in April was always my first sunburn of the season, as we knew not of sunscreen back then.” … those of us who grew up here share your pain …

Cathy, a renowned basketball player at Davis High, adds that she was “ready to jump out and catch the candy tossed by cheerleaders and giddy club members from their floats,” noting that she was “trained to box out and get rebounds even before I lost my baby teeth.” … of course, today you can’t toss anything from the floats (see above) …

PICNICS AND BOOZE … my friend Mike on the Illinois City Streets is not at all happy with the Above-Pictured Columnist’s recent piece on Picnic Day and alcohol … writes Mike: “Do you really propose that businesses conducting legal transactions, selling alcohol in a manner that is responsible, at the regular price and operating during normal hours of operation, should not conduct business because of a local celebration — Picnic Day? Just because some people may act irresponsibly?” …

Actually, Mike, what I said is “getting downtown bars and restaurants to ban booze on Picnic Day is akin to asking See’s not to sell chocolate on Valentine’s Day.” … I stick by that statement and I’d say it again, but I don’t wish to waste the ink … I did add “There’s just too much money involved to shut things down completely,” but that “as long as the party atmosphere remains downtown, Picnic Day will serve as a magnet for troublemakers near and far.” … unfortunately, I was just stating facts, Mike, whether you like them or not …

— Reach Bob Dunning at



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