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Fairy Shrimp Festival combines arts, music and environment

A celebration of arts, music, the environment and UC Merced opportunities will be combined into one big event this weekend.The Saturday afternoon of festivities mixes an Earth Day celebration with the campus’ annual Fairy Shrimp Festival, said Jim Greenwood, student life coordinator. Although Earth Day actually takes place next week, the university is bumping it up on campus a couple of days to bring attention to the area’s “green” practices.

The university already has a recycling program, Green Club and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. LEED rates buildings on the environmental responsibility of their designs. Most recently UC Merced received a “Gold” certification for its Classroom and Office Building.

Saturday is a public event, and recognition of Earth-friendly work will go beyond the school. Other Earth Day booths will showcase natural, sustainable products and Merced County recycling programs.

Green won’t be the only color to highlight that day. Arts and crafts vendors hosting bright, locally made products will be found up and down Scholars Lane. It’s all part of the third annual Fairy Shrimp Festival, a family-friendly event sponsored by the Office of Student Life.

It’s always held on the same day as Bobcat Day, which invites new or potential students to tour the campus starting at 10 a.m. With so many events going on at one time, it’s an ideal day to see the university full of life, Greenwood said.

A long list of bands performed for the Fairy Shrimp Festival last year, and this year’s musical agenda is a bit more focused.

Local five-piece rock/pop group Aeronautics is expected to perform at 3 p.m. The Super Lucky Catz, a rock band from Fresno, plans to put on a show from 4:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. outside the Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center.

The event of handmade arts and crafts combined with a musical lineup tends to attract the same crowd as the Merced County Arts Council’s fall Big Valley Arts & Culture Festival.

“We’re not trying to compete with the Great Valley Arts Festival, but this is kind of a second opportunity,” Greenwood explained.

The entire noon to 6 p.m. event is free and open to the public. And even more art can be found up the way on the first, third and fourth floors of the university's library.

UC Merced students, staff, faculty and their families have contributed about 70 pieces of various art media — including paintings, jewelry and much photography — to go on display. View the Family Art Show during the Kolligian Library’s open hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The show, which traditionally begins around the school’s Fairy Shrimp Festival and Bobcat Day, will be displayed through mid-May, said Mary Weppler-Selear, library services manager.

But many people who have never visited Merced before will get to see this work Saturday during the Bobcat Day library tours. “It’s a high traffic day,” Weppler-Selear said. “It’s a way to show a lot of people on campus are creative.”

While many visitors will attend mainly for the entertainment, a large volume of the traffic will be because of Bobcat Day. It’s targeted toward admitted students and their families, but anyone who wants to visit campus is welcome, said Alex Delgadillo, associate director of admissions.Academic advisers, faculty, staff and students will give presentations and tours. Expect discussions about the state of the school and what future students can do to prepare.“It’s an exciting time to be on campus — be a part of the university as it grows,” Delgadillo said.

Reporter Dhyana Levey can be reached at (209) 385-2472 or

Bobcat Day begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at UC Merced, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced. A combined Fairy Shrimp Festival/Earth Day will also be held from noon to 6 p.m. on campus that day. The Third Ever UC Merced Family Arts Show in the Kolligian Library and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through mid-May.All of these events are free and open to the public. For more information about the Fairy Shrimp Festival, call (209) 228-2582 or go to