This year’s Marlborough Father-Daughter Picnic, hosted at UCLA on Oct. 11, included many new activities, an attendance of 622 people, (seven more than the two previous years) and 100 degree weather. Event co-coordinator and vendor coordinator Darrell Lane, father of Sydney ’16, said that this year’s picnic was “the most fun, the biggest, and the hottest.”
Lane and his team organized the picnic around the theme of “Fun Together,” which he broke up into the sections girls fun (between girls), dads fun (between dads), dynamic duo fun (between dads and girls), traditions fun (in keeping with picnic ritual) sports fun, music fun, food fun and SWAG fun, with a new Marlborough store for dads. UCLA would not allow the popular water balloon slingshot game on their campus because of California’s exceptional drought, but many Marlborough students agreed that the coordinators made up for its loss with new additions including a fruit cart, an inflatable obstacle course and Name That Tune contests with $20 gift card prizes.
One new attraction, the mechanical bull, drew a crowd of dads and daughters. A few people walked away from the ride with small bruises, but when the machine threw Anisha ’16 into a hard decoration on the back wall, she ended up with a black eye, a bruised knee and pulled back muscle. Red Cross student leader Nicole ’16 was able to use her training to fashion a head and shoulder wrap for Anisha, and overall, Anisha said she enjoyed the picnic.
“I liked how they changed up the attractions, especially for people who have been going to this every year consecutively. I think that’s a good idea to change up the pace a little bit but keep the bigger traditions. Maybe not the mechanical bull, just from personal experience, but everything else I liked,” Anisha said.
In keeping with the traditions of the picnic, fathers and daughters who persisted the longest in the egg toss or raced the fastest in other events, received awards for their skill. Kendall ’19 and her father Michael Cooney, who have attended the picnic every year for the past three years, won an award for the fastest completion of the obstacle course at 15 seconds. Kendall is on a parkour team and says that while some of the techniques she uses at her gym might have been helpful on the course, she and her dad were mostly racing for amusement.
“It was kind of competitive, kind of for fun. We were just going as fast as we could, thinking of fun in our minds, but once we realized we had the high score, we were like, ‘Oh we have to defend this championship!’” Kendall said, who keeps the trophy on her dresser.
In addition to balancing new traditions with old ones, Lane said it was his mission to spread the word about inclusiveness at the picnic. Although the Father-Daughter Picnic is characterized by a father-daughter relationship, Lane encourages Marlborough girls to invite moms, older siblings, godparents etc. He said he tried to reach out to moms at Marlborough parent meetings and the two moms, who came, said they enjoyed their time at the event.
Isabel ’17 does not have a dad and says that she has been bothered in the past by the event. She once attended the picnic with her grandfather and had a good time but says she thinks making it into a “Family Picnic” will make it better.
“I think that it would be nice to have parent events to be more inclusive so that families who don’t have a mom or don’t have a dad [are] not left out or so that the girls don’t feel different or excluded from those activities” Isabel said.