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Duck derby depends on which way the wind blows
Annual fundraiser includes more events this year
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John Ferguson keeps the ducks, seen falling into the water above, inside the course at Clark’s Bridge Park during the 11th annual Rubber Duck Derby. The event benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County.

Duck Derby
When: 5K Derby Dash & Bash, 5-9:30 p.m. Friday; Duck Fest, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; race, 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville
How much: $25 for 5K race; $5 per duck "adoption;" free to attend festival
More info: 770-656-3825

Move over, canoes and kayaks. Make room for rubber duckies!

Rubber ducks will command the waterways this Saturday at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue in Gainesville at the 12th annual Rubber Duck Derby, which will benefit The Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County.

Ducks can be "adopted" for $5 each. If your duck is among the first to float to shore, you could win a variety of prizes including $10,000 cash, diamond earrings from Dimo Fine Jewelry and a two-night stay at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

New this year at the derby will be a 5K Derby Dash & Bash, scheduled for Friday night at Roosevelt Square in downtown Gainesville.

"After the race, we’re going to have a block party," said Joyce Wilson, vice president of development for The Boys and Girls Clubs.

"Mellow Mushroom is providing the pizza, and we’re going to have drinks and entertainment, so it will be a fun, kind of happy hour atmosphere after the race," Wilson said.

Wilson said Saturday’s Duck Fest will also feature live music and some new elements, including a "chicken-cue" with local barbecue champion Zack Thompson.

Thompson "competes along the barbecue circuit all across the nation, and he’s won several barbecue championships."

"We’re going to have all kinds of things for kids," she added.

Carnival style games, inflatables and bungee jumps will keep kids busy, and parents can browse arts and crafts booths and see exhibits by the Hall County Master Gardeners.

Another addition for this year will be the Very Important Duck (VID) Corporate Race, when companies will compete for prizes including a group trip to North Georgia Canopy Tours and a barbecue dinner.

The derby is the largest annual fundraiser for the club, with a goal of more than $100,000 set for this year.

More than 9,000 ducks already have been adopted, but Wilson said ducks still can be adopted either by phone, online or in person the day of the derby until 2:30 p.m.

Wilson said the weather dictates how quickly the race goes.

"We’ve had some really short races when the wind is up and blowing toward shore, and we’ve had some really long races when the wind is up and blowing away from the shore," she said.

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