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Why 25,000 rubber ducks are racing across Lake Lanier
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Rubber ducks sprint toward the finish line May 5, 2018, during the annual Rubber Duck Derby fundraiser at Lake Lanier Olympic Park. Proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier. - photo by Layne Saliba

Last year, 24,000 rubber ducks were dumped into Lake Lanier, and on Saturday, May 6, there’s going to be even more. 

“It’s pretty amazing to see,” Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier Grants and Development Administrator Chelsea Clark said of the image of all of those bath toys bobbing in the lake. 

This year, 25,000 ducks are planned to take the plunge, marking the 25th annual Rubber Duck Derby.

25th Annual Rubber Ducky Derby

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

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 6

More info:

Slated for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the family-friendly event includes bounce houses, face painting, live music and food trucks. The derby, slated for 2:30 p.m., raises funds from duck adopters, people who donate in order to have a duck — or multiple ducks — in the race.

Donors have three options for duck adoptions: single adoptions at $6 per duck, a Quack Pack — six ducks for $30 — and a Grand Pack — 25 ducks for $125. 

The funds go toward benefitting the 24 Boys & Girls Clubs across Hall and Habersham counties, which collectively serve 7,500 children, according to Clark. 

The Clubs’ after-school programs, summer programs and community outreach programs also depend on the funding from the annual derby. 

“The Boys & Girls Clubs is just a safe place for kids to be,” Clark said. “We focus on academic success and a safe and healthy lifestyle.”

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Rubber ducks float down a 176-yard course guided only by the current and wind at the 2022 Rubber Duck Derby put on by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier. The first to cross the finish line was a duck adopted by Maria Dye, winning her the grand prize of $10,000. Photo courtesy CLS Films.

Upon purchase, each duck will be tagged with a sticker on the bottom in order to identify its adopted parents. 

According to Clark, over 100 volunteers will assist in tagging the ducks ahead of the derby. 

“We get a lot of help from the community,” Clark said of the behind-the-scenes work that takes place. “That’s a pretty big undertaking that we do the week before the event.” 

Though fundraising efforts are still underway to secure prizes, the grand prize for the first duck to cross the finish line will remain $10,000 cash, according to Clark. 

BGCL is still looking for sponsors for the derby, according to Clark. 

“It’s a great marketing opportunity for businesses,” Clark said. “We are going all out this year.”

The sponsorships range from diamond and platinum to gold, silver and bronze levels.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities and adoption packages, visit

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Volunteers begin removing rubber ducks from the lake following the Rubber Duck Derby at Clarks Bridge Park on Saturday, May 11, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele