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Special Collections

Picnic Day: Then, Now, Always

The 98th annual Picnic Day will take place this Saturday, April 21, 2012. In the spirit of this year’s theme, here’s our take on Then, Now, Always.

Did you know that Picnic Day festivities used to include an Aquacade? The Aquacade featured synchronized swimming, live music, and a poolside variety show. It was a Picnic Day tradition from 1948 until the early 1990s. Below is an undated image of the Aquacade from the University Archives Photographs.

Special Collections will be participating in Picnic Day as part of the Shields Library Open House. Shields Library and Special Collections will be open from 11-1 on Saturday, April 21. We will be displaying historic Picnic Day photographs and memorabilia as well materials from our recent exhibit, Happy 150th Birthday, Peter J. Shields. You can also view our current exhibits: The Ground Beneath Our Feet and Paper Takes: The Power of Uncivil Words.

Special Collections is charged with collecting, preserving, administering, and providing access to the University Archives. It is our role to preserve the University of California, Davis’ history. Materials in Special Collections related to Picnic Day include: the Picnic Day Collection which contains  programs, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia from the event and the Picnic Day Board of Directors Archives which contains reports from the various Picnic Day Directors such as Chairperson, Animal Events, Exhibits, and Parking. Historic photographs from Picnic Day can be found in the University Archives Photographs.

Do you have Picnic Day materials that you’d like to donate to the University Archives? Email us at

Aquacade, Picnic Day, undated


Archives and Special Collections Campus and Local History


Campus history Picnic Day University Archives Photographs