Friday, December 26, 2014

‘Neigh’borhood comes together

The Whymcycles, led by Peter Wagner, head down Second Street ahead of the Unitrans double-decker buses during the Picnic Day Parade. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

From page A1 | April 21, 2013 |

For a celebration that embraces artwork made with maggots, having a horse with a painted representation of musculature and skeletal structures is a comparably tame Picnic Day staple.

The brightly painted steed has been part of the local festival for more than 10 of its 99 years of running. It’s part artistry and part textbook anatomy done by Josephine Trott, an assistant project scientist in the department of animal science at UC Davis.

This year, the animal-turned-palette was displayed in a pen outside the Cole Facility, part of the entertainment and educational exhibits for a line of patrons who were eager to see cow milking and insemination practices first-hand.

A day of perfect weather — 80-something degrees and a light breeze — drew an estimated 55,000 attendees to the university’s annual student-run open house. Early reports from the police also indicated it was a relatively trouble-free day.

Rich Shintaku, associate vice chancellor of student affairs, said the crowd size was perfect for the more than 200 events that filled all corners of the campus, from the parade to Frisbee-catching pooches, from the Battle of the Bands to baseball.

“So far, it has really surpassed our expectations,” Shintaku said as events wound down at about 5 p.m. “I’ve seen and heard a lot of good things from the people in attendance today.

“My only disappointment, on a personal level, is that the Doxie Derby was so crowded I couldn’t get in,” he added with a laugh.

Back at the Cole Facility, Russ Hovey, Trott’s fiancé and a UCD professor, elicited giggles from the crowd Saturday afternoon by allowing the horse to gulp down some of his soda, before sipping it himself. And it was not a diet soda, as Trott had said earlier that the horse was looking “bony” enough. (Insert comedy rimshot here.)

Between the occasional gag, Trott recited answers to curious onlookers. Commonly, questions regarded the horse’s breed: Morgan; its gender: male; his name: Fred; and what she used to draw on him: mostly chalk, and some paint for the whites.

Most children, besides the mischievous bunch using the horse’s pen as a jungle gym, preferred to spectate from afar. They clung tightly to their parents, mouths agape at the size of the beast and the colorful arrangement of his large torso.

One little girl worked up courage enough to approach, and apprehensively reached a hand outward for a quick pet. All she got in return from the horse was a snort, and face full of saliva when a gust of wind arched the spray in her direction.

The plentiful Picnic Day turnout was especially apparent for those at some of the more popular attractions, like the Chemistry Magic Show. Alan Sweger and his family, which includes two UCD students, were among the many who braved the long line for tickets.

“Well, I’ve seen half of the parade, and the rest of the time we’ve been in this line. … Besides that, it’s been great,” Sweger said.

Another crowd-pleaser, Kemper Hall’s laser maze, was an early sellout.

Davis resident Dennis Carlson and family took the low-key approach to the day: “We’ve decided to take it easy this year. We prefer that to doing the all-day thing and predictably ending with frustration and tears,” he jested.

And Carlson’s favorite part of the day? “Seeing the mayor (Joe Krovoza) on a unicycle during the parade.”

Also relaxed were troublemakers, apparently. At 5 p.m., UCD Police Chief Matt Carmichael reported that there had been only 15 citations on campus, mostly alcohol-related, and two arrests for public intoxication. Four medical transports were called to campus.

Carmichael saw it as an improvement over recent Picnic Days. Given the number of people, he said, there couldn’t have been a better outcome in the attempt to preserve the safety and family-oriented aspects of the festival.

Davis police Lt. Paul Doroshov wasn’t ready to comment on the trouble that may occur off campus as the carousing spilled into the streets of downtown in the evening.

The spectacle and the party vibe that goes along with Picnic Day isn’t really what being a UCD student is like, said Jake Blackketter, a junior majoring in community development.

But, he said, it sure is a good time.

“I would say, though, that (Picnic Day) does sort of capture some of the friendliness and openness that goes along with being a student here,” Blackketter added. “People come in from everywhere for this, and they see how welcoming we are to others.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to UCD campus

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Exchange students bring the world to Davis

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Pastor has many plans for CA House

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Playing Santa

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Goats help recycle Christmas trees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Special holiday gifts

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

    Woodland-Davis commute bus service expands

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Learn fruit tree tips at free class

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Davis Bike Club hears about British cycling tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pick up a Davis map at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Explorit: Get a rise out of science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

    NAMI meeting offers family support

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yoga, chanting intro offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8



    Blamed for her sister’s rage

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    How much for the calling birds?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Steve Sack cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Many ensured a successful parade

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Thanks for putting food on the table

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10



    Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Patterson is college football’s top coach

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Clippers get a win over Golden State

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    NBA roundup: Heat beat Cavs in LeBron’s return to Miami

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery





    ‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11



    Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery



    James J. Dunning Jr.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Floyd W. Fenocchio

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Friday, December 26, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7

    Comics: Thursday, December 26, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: A9