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It’s duck time again
We’re just a week or so away from the Great Kitsap Duck Race, something that those of us who live around here wait for all year.
On Sunday, July 27, more than 20,000 yellow rubber ducks will be hoisted high above the water of Dyes Inlet. At exactly 3 p.m., a cage door will open and the ducks will plummet into the water. Racing toward a floating boom, crowds will watch as one of the ducks is the first to arrive at the finish line.
For 21 years, the Rotary Club of Silverdale has sponsored the Silverdale Rotary Duck Race. It’s a great way to participate in Whaling Days, the summertime festival that brings carnival rides, good food, and arts and crafts to the Old Town waterfront in Silverdale.
Since early June, Rotary members have been “selling” ducks, or rather, selling sponsorships of the smiling yellow creatures. This year, ducks also can be sponsored online at www.silverdalerotaryduckrace.com.
Each duck has a number that matches the ticket its sponsor holds. Community volunteers get together prior to the race and number the ducks with corresponding stickers. Winners get prizes that include a new truck, or a chance at $1 million.
For $20, you can sponsor five ducks and have five times the chance to win prizes. A single duck is $5.
But the duck race has a bigger purpose than offering some fun and giving away some prizes.
Adopting ducks can change lives. That’s because the proceeds of the duck race are given away to local nonprofits through a grant program of the Silverdale Rotary. Last year, the race netted $80,000 which went back into our community to help children, teens and adults. Programs that have received funds include feeding programs for homeless children, the Teen Center at the Hazelwood YMCA, Stand Up For Kids, providing scholarships for graduating high school seniors, providing dictionaries to third graders or supporting Corey’s Day on the Farm.
One recent award was $2,500 given to the Central Kitsap Food Bank which bought a new walk-in freezer for the food bank’s new building that will opened in April. Grants also go to homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters and Kitsap Hospice, just to name a few.
The Silverdale Rotary gets in the spirit of things by making sure there are rubber ducks of all sizes, including a giant inflated duck, around the county. Rotarians, at times, have even been known to corner folks with their sponsorships forms in hand.
Thanks to these loyal Rotarians, and thanks to the locals who come out the support the rack race, our community is the real winner of the Whaling Days Duck Race.