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Duck Race Day Activities Lined Up

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Duck watchers at the 22nd annual Estes Park Duck Race will be entertained all day with everything from Dixieland music at the start of the race to music, balloon art, and caricature drawings at the finish line.

Thousands of people are expected in Estes Park for the annual duck race, the largest general charitable fund raiser in the Estes Valley.

The festivities begin at 11:00 a.m. with the Riverside Ramblers Dixieland band performing outside Nicky’s Resort, 1350 Fall River Rd. That’s where you can also buy duck race paraphernalia and souvenirs – duck necklaces, shirts, ties, pins, hats, and assorted things very “duckish.” They will also be available downtown in Riverside Plaza.

At 1:00 p.m., thousands of little rubber ducks are dropped into Fall River at Nicky’s starting the race.

They float down the river and eventually arrive outside the Wheel Bar in Riverside Plaza downtown, where most of the entertainment unfolds.

12:00-4:00 p.m. Balloon Art-two artists create sculptures made with balloons

12:30-2:00 p.m.-The Estes Park Jazz Band -under the direction of Chuck Varilek

1:00-2:30 p.m.-Bruiser, the Dog-Bob Aiken charms children with his very touchable, friendly “dog”

1:00-4:00 p.m. – The Local Herd Caricatures by Tim Buck

2:00- 4:00 p.m.-Dick Orleans-guitar and singing

The Rotary Club of Estes Park stages the annual duck race to raise money for local charities and organizations that benefit residents of the Estes Valley. Last year, the duck race raised more than $112,000 that went to 66 different local groups. Over the last 21 years, the Estes Park Duck Race has raised more than $1.5-million for local charities and organizations.

“We have 67 charitable organizations participating this year and we hope to do as well as we did last year,” said Tom “Big Duck” Anderson, chairman of the Rotary Club’s Duck Race Committee.

People “adopt” a duck for $20 each. It goes into the river at Nicky’s and if it crosses the finish line downtown quickly enough, the duck’s adoptive parent wins a prize. That could be anything from a gift certificate at a local store to a 46” flat screen, LED TV, an HP laptop computer, a Nikon digital SLR camera, Sony electronic book reader, a Garmin GPS system and more.

“Duck Race Day is a day of great spring time activity for the whole family,” said Anderson. “We’ve added another balloon artist and the caricature artist to this year’s lineup of entertainment. And we’ve also got face painters. It’s an activity the kids love.”

Also in Riverside Plaza, a ShelterBox tent will be set up for all to view. The Rotary Club has sent ShelterBoxes to various disaster sites around the world to help house those in need. Come see what they’re all about.

Anderson has been encouraging merchants in town to do promotional tie-ins to the duck race. Poppy’s Restaurant, for example, will be offering a special “Duck Race Pizza.” Some other merchants plan to have a two-day sidewalk sale Duck Race Weekend. Anderson praised Estes Park business owners for their annual support of the duck race by donating prizes. “As of last Friday, we had collected more than 600 merchant prizes and they are still coming in,” he said. “We’re shooting for around 800. Our merchants have always been very, very generous for anything that benefits our community and we deeply appreciate their support.”

One thing the duck race could use is more water in the river. “We need some warm weather up in the park to boost the river flow,” explained Anderson. “The first duck to cross the finish line last year made it in almost exactly one-and-a-half hours. The fastest duck in history made it in 37-minutes, and the longest was almost three hours. I hope we don’t have a repeat of that.”

Duck Race tickets, or adoption forms, can be purchased from members of any of the 67 participating charities and organizations. They’re also on sale at Nicky’s Resort, the Wheel Bar, Macdonald Book Shop, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and from Noon to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday until race day at Duck Central in Upper Stanley Village across the parking lot from Safeway. For more information, contact Tom Anderson at 970-577-1562.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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