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A quacky lake race
18,000 rubber ducks take over Lake Lanier for 16th annual derby
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Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County officials announce the grand prize winner Saturday for the annual Rubber Duck Derby as Edgar Dunlap. Boys and Girls Club board members and office holders are, from left, Greg Katulka, Joyce Wilson and Phil Bonelli. The clubs sold 18,000 ducks and hope to net more than $100,000, officials said. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Rubber Duck Derby results
Grand-prize winner: Edgar Dunlap
Runner-up: Northeast Georgia Health Systems
Third place: Michele Smith
Fourth place: Ralph Hargrove
Fifth place: Melissa King
Sixth place: John Alexander
Seventh place: Kary Nordholz
Eighth place: Kim Davis
Ninth place: Greg Holland

Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County
Address: 1 Positive Place, Gainesville, GA 30501
More information: 770-532-8102

Thousands of rubber ducks were turned loose in Hall County’s outdoor bathtub Saturday to raise money and, for one lucky entrant, float home a $10,000 grand prize.

The 16th annual Rubber Duck Derby at Clarks Bridge Park on Lake Lanier helped raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County.

A record-breaking 18,000 ducks were entered into this year’s race, said Joyce Wilson, vice president of development and marketing for the organization. 

The runner-up finisher received a portable generator, while third place received $1,000. 

Like last year’s derby, the event started earlier than scheduled due to the threat of rain, but there was still a crowd gathered to watch, Wilson said.

“Everybody was hooting and hollering and cheering their ducks on,” she said. “You’re always waiting and wondering if it’s an orange beak or is it the blue beak or the green beak that’s going to win out.

“Everybody was excited. And it’s always a lot of fun to see all the ducks come off the barge and into the lake.”

With the record number of entries, Wilson said the organization’s $150,000 goal was exceeded.

“The money raised is going toward all of our programs and services, which are geared toward academic success, character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles,” Wilson said.

“This is vitally important for us, because all of the money raised and needed to support the programs comes from events like this one. The whole point of the club is to try and keep services at a low cost, so the kids that really wouldn’t have any other place to go will have someplace safe and fun and have great programs available for them.”

Wilson added the Hall County community is “amazing” and it “pours” its heart out to helping organizations and people in need.

Along with the derby, families enjoyed bounces houses, food, games and live music.

“My family always tries to come out and watch the ducks get dropped into the water and check out the race,” spectator Kathy Millar said.

Millar brought her twin children, Alison and John Millar, 6, to watch.

“My children talk about the duck derby five to six months before it even occurs and they want to know when it is happening,” she said.

Tiara Ferrell said she’s such a big fan of rubber ducks, she even owns her own collection.

“The fact this event is supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County is great,” she said. “It’s great to see this many people out in the community supporting it, too.”