By KAITLYN NAPLES
It’s that time of the year again when 5,000 rubber ducks will fill the Pequabuck River, and hundreds of people will fill the streets of Forestville. What makes this year special is it will be the 10th annual Pequabuck River Duck Race, an event that always provides a celebration of spring and community.
“I enjoy it because it is a great sense of community and also benefits Forestville and Bristol,” said Rebecca White, the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce Marketing & Communications coordinator.
The race, which will be held on Sunday May 4, 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.
Even though the race begins at 2 p.m., other activities are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., such as the Pequabuck River Duck Race Craft Fair, a block party, children’s games, a disc jockey, crafts, vendors, food and more. The craft fair will be set up in the parking lot of Ultimate Wireforms, next to Nuchies Restaurant.
The way the race works is that approximately 5,000 rubber ducks will be dumped off of a payloader parked 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.
At the finish line, there is a chamber constructed 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.) 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 Webster Bank branches, TD Bank, City True Value Hardware, both branches of the First Bristol Federal Credit Union, Nuchies Restaurant and the Manross Library on Central Street, the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce office on Main Street, Physical Therapy Center of Bristol, Tracy Driscoll, Silvana’s Day Spa & Salon, Marilyn’s Pub, and Wojtusik Nursery.
This year, there are 38 prizes for the winning 38 ducks, the largest number of prizes yet. Prizes 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, golf outings, 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. Race goers can park their vehicles in the Stop and Shop plaza in Forestville and walk down to the Forestville village.
For more information visit the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce website at www.centralctchambers.org or call (860)584-4718. The race will be held on Sunday May 4, 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.