Rubber Ducky: Are You the One?
August 15, 2012

In an event that would no doubt make Ernie from Sesame Street break out in song, Mass Audubon’s 9th annual Duck Derby is scheduled for this Friday night.

This quirky fundraiser at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport features more than 5,000 rubber yellow ducks floating down the tidal inlet from Buzzards Bay into Allens Pond in a hilarious race to the finish line.

It’s hard to imagine a much more amusing scene than thousands of bath toys bobbing down an inlet with crowds cheering their “adopted” ducks on. Mass Audubon supplies the numbered ducks (which are used year after year).

To maintain control of duck herd, the derby is always held on an incoming tide. That keeps the ‘”athletes” heading into the natural enclosure of the tide pond rather than out in the bay. Ducks are then corralled in a massive boom. Any ducks that may “escape” are rounded up by a crew of vigilant volunteer duck wranglers, according to an Audubon spokesperson.

 “The Duck Derby has become a remarkable event, truly fun and exciting for everyone who attends or participates, and a great fundraiser for Allens Pond and Mass Audubon,” says South Coast Sanctuaries Director Gina Purtell.

The following day, the festivities continue with a “Ducky Dash 5K” and a “Kids Totally Quackers” obstacle course. Those who register for those events before August 17 also receive a free duck entry. The festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., includes exhibits and games, a plant auction, silent auction, plenty of food, and live music from Neal McCarthy & Friends

Entry fees to the Duck Derby start at $10 for one duck and prizes include everything from an extravagant grand prize dinner for two anywhere in the world (including air travel and two night’s accommodations) to shopping sprees and gift certificates. You can buy a derby entry online and you don’t need to be present to win.

To register for either of the races, visit or go to the Sanctuary Field Station (1280 Horseneck Road, Westport). For more information or to “adopt” a race duck, visit the Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary website.

Have you been to the Duck Derby? How about Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary? Tell us why you enjoy visiting this Mass Audubon property.


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