By Matt Yancey
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that every person living in Davis has a passion for our community. It fosters an unparalleled level of local political engagement. It makes us fight for what we believe is best for our community. It engenders fearlessness in the face of those fights. And yet, at the same time, Davis welcomes new ideas and new people with intellectual curiosity and open arms. Speaking as someone who works here, but resides elsewhere, it’s intoxicatingly infectious.
At times, though, I’m sure it may feel to some as if the battle is unending. So, every once in a while, we must pause to remind ourselves where this passion comes from; and, why it so relentlessly drives us into the fray.
I suspect this is why the Davis Chamber first began organizing Celebrate Davis. And, I believe it’s why my predecessors kept it going every May for a decade since. I know it’s why I’m launching it into a second decade of celebration.
For those of you reading this who may only know Davis by reputation, Celebrate Davis has the atmosphere of a state or county fair. This year’s program features over 100 local restaurants, businesses, and community non-profits. Our stage will host live music from local bands, a performance by the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh, a fashion show, and a poetry reading. There is a family fun zone with zip line, rock wall, face-painting, and bounce house. Along with food, we’ll have beer and wine on hand for the adults. And we will, as we do every year, cap off the celebration with a fireworks display.
So, if you’re free on the evening of May 14th, come join us in the celebration.
Celebrate the Davis bike loop. With its twelve miles of interconnected bicycling infrastructure, the loop provides a safe and secure experience for bicyclists of all ages and skill levels. Following the green pavement markers, residents and tourists alike can access all our City has to offer.
Celebrate UC Davis. Our community’s namesake university has the nation’s top-ranked veterinary school. It’s the world’s leading university for agriculture and forestry. UC Davis is also one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars. This academic year alone, it is training more than 35,000 of the world’s brightest minds.
Celebrate the Davis Joint Unified School District. All of its elementary schools, junior high schools, and regular high school programs have been known to score over 800 on the State’s Academic Performance Index (API). An API score of 800 is the threshold at which a school ranks as “high performing.”
Celebrate our vibrant arts and music scene. Whether you’re looking for a night out at the theater, fine art for your home collection, or rare editions to your music collection, Davis can fill that need. The Davis Musical Theater is California’s longest-running, year-round, amateur musical theater company. Galleries such as the Pence and Natsoulas offer fine art exhibits and educational programs. Whatever your preferred form – vinyl LPs, CDs, DVDs, or cassettes – you’ll find a diverse selection of classical, jazz, reggae, rock, country, and punk at Armadillo Music in Downtown Davis.
Celebrate the Davis Farmers’ Market. Whether on a Saturday morning or a Wednesday afternoon, all you need to do is visit Central Park to find some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, and baked goods around. In 2009, the Davis Farmers’ Market was voted “America’s Favorite Farmers Market” by American Farmland Trust and thousands of voters. And it’s Executive Director, Randii MacNear, has been inducted into the North American Farm Direct Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame.
And, this is all just the tip of the iceberg.
Over the next couple of years, there will be no shortage of contentiously debated issues. The outcomes of these debates will shape the course of this community for the next half century or more. If you’re able to join us on May 14th at Community Park, I look forward to celebrating with you. If not, I encourage you to find a quiet couple of minutes and reflect on all of the reasons for which you are proud to call Davis home.
Matt Yancey is Chief Executive Officer for the Davis Chamber of Commerce. He formerly worked as Director of Economic Development at the Sacramento Metro Chamber and has 15 years of experience in the field of economic development.