Duckie Derby kicks off at Mill River
If you thought the Kentucky Derby was the only race that could get your heart pumping, think again. On Saturday, May 19th, there will be a gathering of eager rubber duckie owners just itching to release them. The kick off for the Fairfield County Duckie Derby begins 1:00 p.m. with a “blessing of the fleet” on Brookside Drive. At 1:30 p.m., over 1,000 rubber ducks will be set free to sail away along the Mill River.
The ducks are weighted, sealed, and given race numbers with a $10 donation from participants. Then, it’s just a choppy ride downstream to see who wins. There will be trophies for First, Second, and Third Place. All proceeds benefit St. Catherine's Academy, a school for children with special needs located in Fairfield. Their goal is to raise $15,000 to support the school’s scholarship program.
So, how long will it take to get from one end of Brookside Drive to the other?
“Well, that depends on how fast the river is running,” said Helen Burland, President of St. Catherine’s Academy and one of the coordinators for the race. “It could take five minutes or it could take 15. We haven’t had enough rain or snow this year, so it might be slower.”
Think the Duckie Derby is unique to Fairfield? It’s not. The whole idea of sending rubber ducks down the river started in Aspen in 1991. Since its inception, they have raised more than $2.3 million for various charity organizations. The largest race, however, has been running in Cincinnati since 1994 with over 100,000 ducks racing to raise money for a local foodbank.
Other towns in the state have been hosting a duckie race for years, in some cases over a decade. Bristol and Milford just had their races on Sunday, May 6th. Pawcatuck just sponsored theirs on April 30th. Norwich hosted their race this past Saturday. But if you’re still hoping to keep the duckie love alive, Newtown will be holding their race down the Pootatuck River on Saturday, May 26th. A great way to kick off your Memorial Day weekend!
The Fairfield County Duckie Derby is an annual event free and open to the public. But, you pay the $10 fee to race a duck. With a $15 donation, large sized rubber ducks will be decorated ahead of time and entered into the "Decorate Me Duck" contest. Trophies and prize ribbons will be awarded. Games, face painting, goodies provided by Whole Foods Market, and two fuzzy, friendly life-sized duck mascots will be on hand to entertain the "young at heart" to take a quick picture.
This year’s sponsors include The Bank of Fairfield, the gold level Lead sponsor, Whole Foods Market, the silver lever sponsor, and Kohl’s at the bronze level.
To enter the race, visit the Fairfield County Duckie Derby online at www.fairfieldcountyduckiederby.com or get your tickets at The Bank of Fairfield or Whole Foods Market. Parking is available in the St. Pius Church parking lot across from the river.
Let the race begin and may the best duck win!