Rubber duck races are used in family-fun fundraising events by organizations worldwide.
HOW IT WORKS: People donate money to the organization by sponsoring a rubber duck. Behind the scenes, before the event, volunteers put a bar code sticker on the bottom of each rubber duck. These bar codes tell who paid for the duck to race.
ON EVENT DAY: These rubber ducks are then dumped into a waterway. The first rubber duck to float past the finish line wins a prize. These prizes are paid for and sponsored by area businesses.
Proceeds benefit a charity in need.
AFTER THE EVENT: Rubber ducks are pulled out of the waterway or river with fishing nets. Each rubber duck has a buoy to keep it afloat.
Of interest, the same rubber ducks are used worldwide. When one community is done racing the ducks, the ducks are shipped or trucked to the next location for their next race. (Wow! These rubber ducks sure swim a lot, working hard in their fundraising efforts.)
Here, in the Cincinnati area, the 24th annual Rubber Duck Regatta will happen on Sunday, September 2 on the Ohio River off the Purple People Bridge. People will watch the race from both Kentucky and Ohio. Those on the Kentucky side of the river will gather at Newport on the Levee; and those on the Ohio side of the river, at Sawyer Point Park. Rubber ducks will race toward the Serpentine Wall.
Each year, twenty-four years strong, The Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati has sponsored this event. It is their largest fundraiser, raising money for children at risk of hunger. Every duck purchased (at $5) provides 15 meals for a child or family in need. (Wow! $5 goes a long way.) Partnering with area grocery stores, farmers, and others, The Freestore Foodbank has resources to stretch their budget.
PREPARING FOR EVENT DAY: Yesterday, Saturday, I was behind the scenes in this effort. Me and many other volunteers showed up at their warehouse, putting those bar code stickers on the bottom of the ducks. Sadly, we’d sometimes come across a duck that just can’t make another race—their head is torn or the buoy in their bottom is no longer any good. These went into a box labeled, “Dead Ducks” (how sad).
In the morning shift, volunteers got 2,500 rubber ducks ready to race. In my afternoon shift, we did another 3,900. More volunteer shifts are available. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 rubber ducks will race next weekend!
Yesterday, I learned that this fundraiser is a huge help to the Freestore Foodbank when it comes to providing Power Pack Lunches for school kids throughout the year.
Cincinnati’s Rubber Duck Regatta is the largest race in America, yet by far, not the only race which is impactful in the community. With hundreds of races held internationally, here are a few recent past rubber duck races:
The Incredible Duck Race in Tampa, Florida was on August 16, raising funds for their Kiwanis Club.
Reno, Nevada had their Duck Race and Festival on August 9 at Wingfield Park to benefit the Humane Society.
Chicago Ducky Derby was August 8, in support of Special Olympics.
In Columbus, Ohio, there was the Zoom Duck Derby on August 3, which benefited the Alpha Group in financial support for services to individuals with developmental disabilities.
And yesterday, August 25 was the Duck Race in East Peoria, Illinois. Proceeds from their event benefited The Center for Prevention of Abuse.
Szentendre, Hungary also had their charity event yesterday, August 25. (Pictured at right.)
Of the many-many upcoming races, these here are but a few:
The Southern Illinois Ducky Derby Dash to help Special Olympics is September 2. It will be at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.
On October 13 at the Bridgeport Park in Santa Clarita, California, their Rubber Ducky Festival will raise funding for under insured persons needing healthcare.
And the Incredible Duck Splash happens November 3 in Glendale, California, in support of their Kiwanis Club.
We can be a real part of our community. I hope you will consider supporting the Rubber Duck Race in your area. It is a family-fun way to think of others and to help those in need, ultimately helping the whole community.
Please share about the Rubber Duck event in your community. You can drop your comments below, in reply to this post.
Cincinnati area: http://rubberduckregatta.org/
To find out more about Rubber Duck events in other communities– in your local area, visit the website for Game Fundraising or call 1-800-779-RACE.