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Rubber Duck Derby undergoes makeover to appeal more to adults
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Kayaking volunteer Noah Clay flings away one of many rubber ducks that washed ashore during the last year's 18th annual Duck Derby at Lake Lanier Olympic Park.

Annual Rubber Duck Derby

When: 5:30-10 p.m. May 5

Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville

Cost: $5 for one duck; $25 for six ducks and $100 for 25 ducks

More info: www.rubberduckderby.com

The Rubber Duck Derby is back for its 19th year with an all-new look and a few changes.

This year’s event will take place on Cinco de Mayo, marking a date change for the annual event. The festival will run from 5:30-10 p.m. Friday, May 5.

The change in date allows this year’s event to focus on more adults attending because it is on Cinco de Mayo.

In the past, the Rubber Duck Derby has targeted kids and adults. But now vendors are geared toward adults, including Kona Ice, Sandwich Shuttle and Tap It, a growler bar based in Gainesville.

But the date and focus are not the only changes. Another change is the addition of Duck Fest, which features a concert by the Fly Betty Band beginning at 6 p.m.

The final change of note is the main sponsor and benefactor of the funds has changed its name.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County recently changed the name to Boys and Girls Club of Lanier for a more regional organization.

“We’ve been in the community for a long time, but there’s a need beyond Hall County,” said Chelsea Clark, event marketing/volunteer coordinator of the Boys and Girls Club.

She said Rubber Duck Derby is the club’s most community-oriented fundraiser, drawing a crowd of 1,000 last year.

“It really shows support for the kids that we support in the community,” Clark said. “The future of our kids is the future of our community.”

The annual Rubber Duck Derby remains the same this year. The race begins at 5:30 p.m. as 20,000 ducks are pushed into Lake Lanier and float one-tenth of a mile to the finish line.

In the case of no wind, kayakers are stationed to the sides to help create waves. Last year’s race lasted three to four minutes.

The ducks will race to win prizes for their “adopted parents.” The parents of the first seven ducks will receive prizes.

The grand prize is $10,000. Other prizes include a diamond solitaire valued at $5,000 from Gainesville Jewelry and four tickets to Disney World.

A single duck is $5, a “quack pack” of six ducks is $25 and a grand pack of 25 ducks is $100. Rubber ducks can be adopted at www.rubberduckderby.com/ and must be purchased by 5 p.m. May 4.

“The Rubber Duck Derby raises funds for us to provide quality and innovative programs,” Clark said.

For more information, visit www.rubberduckderby.com.