By KAITLYN NAPLES
Its that time again, where 5,000 rubber ducks will be dumped into the Pequabuck River for the Ninth Annual Pequabuck River Duck Race.
The race, which will be held on Sunday, May 5, benefits the entire city of Bristol, with the proceeds being split between the Forestville Village Association and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, to be used for beautification efforts.
The Forestville Village Association has used its share of the profits for maintenance to parks, like the Thomas W. Quinlan Veteran’s Park, which is a product of past duck race profits. The chamber uses its portion of the proceeds for restoration around the city like new welcome signs, or replacing aged holiday lights.
Cheryl Thibeault, who is one of the coordinators of the race this year, said the people who make up the planning committee have been planning this race for many years, “and it always works out so well.”
The duck race isn’t only a race, there will also be a block party that will bring in food and other vendors, and for the third year in a row, a craft fair.
The way the race works is that approximately 5,000 rubber ducks will be dumped off of a payloader, donated by Carpenter Construction, on the Andrews Street bridge, into the Pequabuck River, at 2 p.m. For about 20 minutes to a half hour, the ducks will float down the river to the finish line, which is the bridge at Central Street in Forestville, across the street from Nuchies Restaurant.
Even though the race begins at 2 p.m., other activities are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., like the Pequabuck River Duck Race Craft Fair, and other family activities, like games and bounce houses, and for profit and non-profit organizations also present. The craft fair will be set up in the parking lot of Ultimate Wireforms, next to Nuchies Restaurant.
At the finish line, at the bridge on Central Street in the center of Forestville, there is a chamber set up where only one duck can pass through at a time.
Clean Harbors, an environmental group, donates its services to collect the ducks as they finish. The ducks are collected, as well as other debris that may have fallen on the edge of the river as well, and work well after the race is complete. As the ducks pass through the finish line, they are collected in order and then brought into Nuchies, where volunteers match up the numbers on the duck with the numbers on the tickets that individuals bought.
Tickets are $5, and individuals should purchase them prior to race day. The tickets are being sold at a variety of businesses around town, including all Webster Bank branches, TD Bank on Broad Street, Beacon Pharmacy on Collins Road, City True Value Hardware, Martino’s Market on Terryville Avenue, both branches of the First Bristol Federal Credit Union, Nuchies Restaurant and the Manross Library on Central Street. There will be 41 prizes for the winning 41 ducks, the highest number of prizes yet, which include $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place, a variety of gift cards for things like hair salons and restaurants, a television, a golf outing, and more. The winners are announced shortly after the race is completed, and if participants who won aren’t at the race, they are notified.
“It is always a very successful event that families have enjoyed going to for years,” Thibeault said, adding that there is always something for everyone, and a nice way to spend the day “out in the sun.” Thibeault added that the committee wanted to thank all of the sponsors of this year’s Duck Race.
The race will be held on Sunday May 5, and will begin at 2 p.m., with the craft fair and other activities beginning at 10 a.m. The whole event is open to the public and there is no entrance fee.
Comments? Email knaples@BristolObserver. com.
By KAITLYN NAPLES