Lacey Rotary Club dumps its ducks into Deschutes River for 25th year

Staff writerJune 7, 2014 

For 25 years, the Rotary Club of Lacey’s Duck Dash has raised thousands of dollars for South Sound charities.

For the event’s climax Saturday at Tumwater Falls Park, a crane dumped nearly 12,000 rubber ducks into the Deschutes River as spectators crowded the scene.

Attendees who bought a numbered duck for $5 each were eligible for big prize drawings — including a trip for four to Hawaii or a 2014 Ford Mustang — if their ducks were among the first 20 retrieved downstream at the finish line.

Organizers expected Saturday’s event to generate nearly $60,000, said Rotary president-elect Bill McGregor. He said the event embodies the club’s motto of “service above self” by getting people to invest in their community.

Aside from benefiting nearly 40 South Sound service organizations, the proceeds from Duck Dash help fund scholarships for high school students. After the event, the rubber ducks will spend the next few days drying out before going into storage in Longview, said McGregor, adding that other Rotary Clubs use the ducks for similar fundraisers. “They’re well-used ducks,” he said.

The event has grown every year, with the inaugural Duck Dash raising just $2,500, said club member Hilton Jarvis. The club’s biggest fundraiser has always charged $5 per duck, he said, and the weather is usually pleasant. However, he did recall one Duck Dash that was slammed with rain.

“The ducks even drowned,” Jarvis said, laughing.

Organizers expected about 5,000 people to cycle through the park, which hosted an array of food vendors and activities. Children also had the opportunity to win free bicycles through a raffle.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869; ahobbs@theolympian.com

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