What’s yellow and blue and quacks us up every year?
Why, the annual duck race of course!
In just over a week from now, a swarm of yellow racing ducks will be riding the current along Sooke River to the finish line, where some lucky duck will make an easy grand for the winner.
Indeed, on Saturday, May 10, the Sooke Harbourside Lions will be hosting their eighth annual duck race at the Sooke River Flats (the Sooke campground), on Phillips Road just past SEAPARC.
The duck race started eight years ago as a fun way to raise money for juvenile diabetes research and Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan. It’s turned into a fun family day, that includes a bouncy castle, arcade-type games, a balloon-making clown, face-painting, cupcake decorating, and oh so much more according to Jane Beddows, their president. Food will include popcorn and their world-famous hotdogs.
Overseen by Event Chair Joanne Phillips, the event is a family friendly and affordable fun day out. Most of the proceeds are raised through the duck adoptions, so those who have a little extra to donate for the activities are encouraged to do so; those whose priorities rest with their own expenses at this point in time can also participate, without donating. There are fixed prices for the food and beverages sold on site.
Raffle tickets are sold for each duck in the race. Ducks are “adopted” out for $5 per duck. A five-pack “Quack Pack” sells for $20. All the ducks are numbered and the first six ducks across the finish line win cash prizes for their adopted parents. Prizes, from first to sixth, are for $1,000, $500, $400, $300, $200 and $100. Ducks coming in seventh and beyond honour their holders with the joy of participation.
Tickets are available for purchase at Sooke Shoppers Drug Mart, Sooke Peoples Drug Mart, Sooke Pemberton Holmes and from any Harbourside Lion. Look for the waving life-sized duck on Thursday nights as the Lions gather by the Sooke River Bridge, waving specifically at you.
Race day is May 10, the day before Mother’s Day. Gates open at 11a.m., and duck tickets will be sold until noon. The ducks are dropped in the river by 1 p.m., hopefully crossing the line between 1:30 and 2pm (depending on the wind!!!)
This race has turned into a very successful fundraiser for the club… raising close to $50,000 over the past eight years.
“We have racing ducks this year,” laughs Jane Beddows in conversation at the Sooke News Mirror office. “They are warming up at Kemp Lake, doing their paddling exercises.” And don’t worry about the older ones. They are enjoying their retirements.”
Clearly, no ducks are harmed before, during or after the event.