Duck, Duck, Derby!
August 7, 2013

Now in its 10th year, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary’s annual Duck Derby is eagerly awaited by crowds of rubber duck-loving fans. This year, the derby will be held on Saturday, August 17th , so there’s still time to register a duck.

The event, which is a race (of sorts) of more than 5,000 rubber yellow ducks floating down the tidal inlet from Buzzards Bay into Allens Pond, is the sanctuary’s main fundraiser of the year. Money raised helps to support ecological and outreach projects at the sanctuary and in the local community, including bird monitoring, trail maintenance, and free public programs, like a junior bird club.

It’s easy to participate. Just “adopt” a duck online for $10 and you’ll be entered in the race. An amazing grand prize---dinner for two anywhere in the world, including transportation and two nights’ stay---is hard to match. Other prizes will be given for, among others things, a celebratory Decade Duck, a Stealth Duck and the Slacker Quacker, the last duck to finish.

The 55 prizes that will be awarded are entirely supported by sponsors and prize donors, so the duck “adoptions” directly support the sanctuary. Past grand prize winners have gone to New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, China, France, Aruba, India, Zambia and Tanzania.

And there’s no need to worry about a flood of ducks littering the river. To retain control of the duck herd, the derby is always held on an incoming tide. This keeps the bath toys heading into the natural enclosure of the tide pond rather than out in the bay. Ducks are corralled in a massive boom and vigilant volunteer duck wranglers go out later to round up any that may has slipped by.

The day after the derby, there’s the Duck Derby Festival, which includes a 5K race (at 8 a.m.) and a kids obstacle course (at 9:15 a.m.), followed by BBQ, exhibits, games, live music and a silent auction. The winners of the Derby are also announced at the festival (you don’t have to be present to win).

You must be registered to join the race. Call 508-636-2437 or go online here to register. Last minute duck adoptions may be purchased at the Duck Derby sales table at the Bayside Restaurant or the Field Station at the sanctuary on August 17th until noon.

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