By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
The annual Pequabuck River Duck Race was held on Sunday, May 6, and saw 28 winners, leaving with a wide variety of prizes.
The top three prizes were $1,500, $500, and an Xbox One S 500GB console with Titanfall, respectively. Those prizes went home with Heather Messier, Sue Moreau, and David King, respectively.
“We are here, rain or shine, the Duck Race is on,” said President and CEO of the Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce Cindy Bombard.
Bombard said herself and the rest of the chamber team arrived early, and volunteers from St. Paul Catholic High School, the chamber Board of Directors, PYVOT [Professional Young Visionaries of Tomorrow], and more arrived shortly thereafter.
“There’s great food, there’s great vendors, there are, of course, the famous ducks, all waiting to go down the river,” said Bombard. “And we couldn’t do it without the great volunteers and community to support us.”
Committee co-chairs, Cheryl Thibeault and Rebecca White, helped in all aspects of set up: from directing vendors to their booth area, to helping to sell more tickets that morning. But, their efforts truly started about six months prior to the race.
“We start with deciding the prizes that we’re going to have, then we apply for a permit, then we get the tickets ready and start ticket selling, and then we work on the actual block party itself; getting the games setup, getting the vendors and craft fair setup,” said Thibeault.
Radio 102.9 The Whale DJ, Maxwell Mcgee, hosted the duck race for the second time.
“An event like this really means a lot to me because it’s a fun way to help people out, and I’m here to get on the mic and make sure people are having a good time, giving them the right info,” said Mcgee. “This is really an amazing event, it’s really, really cool.”
Victoria Lemme, Miss Bristol 2018, and other members of the Miss Forestville Organization, a division of the Miss America Organization, was also in attendance to help sell tickets.
Nathan Defranco, a freshman, Erik Atkinson, a freshman, and Elizabeth Kelly, a junior, all from St. Paul High School, were collecting community service hours in exchange for their efforts.
“I’ve come here before with my family and I thought it was a lot of fun. Our school was advertising it [as in need of volunteers] and I decided to volunteer,” said Kelly.
At 2 p.m., the barrels of ducks were released into the river, and the Clean Harbors crew waited at the finish line, to ensure all ducks were accounted for and safely removed from the Pequabuck.
“We’re an environmental services company, we provide waste disposal options for companies,” said Bryan Campbell, of Clean Harbors. “It’s a great event for the Bristol community that we partake in every year, that we can help give back to the Bristol community. People purchase the ducks, we set up the boom right here to kind of funnel all of the ducks in, and we help collect all of the ducks in the proper order once they come. We are happy to help partake, and give back to the City of Bristol.”
Also on site was the Pequabuck River Watershed Association, led by Mary Rydingsward, who spoke to attendees about the watershed, and the need to keep tje rivers clean, as pollution can find its way into our drinking water.
Brandy Welesky and her two children attended the race for the first time.
“It will win,” said her daughter, Lizzy, 7.
Georgina Grize, of Sissy’s Unique Boutique, was one of the many vendors taking part in the craft fair. Grize and her sister hand crochet items such as hats, baby clothes, toys, and of course, ducks of all sizes and colors.
This and That, all occasion gift baskets, created by Rosalie Maurizio, offered many takes on the Mother’s Day gift basket, but Maurizio said she’s able to customize each basket to reflect what the buyer is looking for.
Handmade jewelry crafters, Danielle Skwiot and Annelise Lutz, of Sass Queen Moon Grooves and Clove & Anchor respectively, had an intricate display of soy candles, body products, healing crystal jewelry, bath bombs, and more. All of their products are handcrafted in Bristol.
Food trucks such as Deb’s Cafe were on site as well.
“Deb’s Cafe, we go all over the place. We do Oreos, fried everything; fried Oreos, fried PB&J, fried Funnybones, fried pickles, fried raviolis, fried dough,” said Cindy Wetland. Wetland said Cafe owner, Debbie, has been bringing her cafe to the duck race ever since it started.
Some of the vendors were advertising upcoming events, such as John J. Gianoni. Gianoni was there to discuss the upcoming Pine Lakes 5th Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby, to be held on Saturday, May 12, from 7:00 AM to noon, at Pine Lake in Forestville.
Prize #, Prize, Winner Name, Ticket #
1, “$1,500.00 “, Heather Messier, 1822
2, $500.00 , Sue Moreau, 2715
3, Xbox One S 500GB Console with Titanfall, David King, 2842
4, Restaurant Membership through 2019 at Chippanee Country Club , Lisa King, 2835
5, Weekend Overnight stay with Breakfast for Two at DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol , Sean Marcel, 509
6, Family Four Pack at Lake Compounce, Lynda Russell, 634
7, $150 Gift Certificate redeemable at Quinoco Oil , Lauren Simard, 1769
8, $100 Gift Certificate redeemable at Nuchie’s Restaurant , Tina Minella, 2553
9, $100 Gift Certificate redeemable at City True Value Hardware , George Colegione, 1586
10, $100 Gift Certificate redeemable at Sassu Cuts , Greg Fradette Jr., 1428
11, $100 Gift Certificate redeemable at San Gennaro, Emma Fealy, 2373
12, $100 Gift Certificate redeemable at CT Beer Tours, Kolbie Brenner, 671
13, Sassu Cuts Product Basket, Jay Satler, 2271
14, $80 Gift Certificate redeemable for massage at Bodywork by Becca, Dale Johnston, 2813
15, $75 Gift Certificate redeemable at Sonic of CT, Jeannito Oakes, 605
16, One Hour Massage at Physical Therapy & Massage of CT, Dyanna Engle, 1727
17, One Hour Massage at Physical Therapy & Massage of CT, Daniel Letourneau, 1707
18, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at Hartford County Tattoo , Daniel Yllanes, 1326
19, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at Greer’s Chicken, Mark Walerysiak Jr., 1256
20, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at Greer’s Chicken, Rene Soucy, 3621
21, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at Silvana Day Spa & Salon, Lucas Kuczenski, 2884
22, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at Black Bear Auto, Maria Avery, 1090
23, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at Three Figs or Tunxis Grille & Pizzeria, Mark Lussier, 1923
24, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at J&M Restaurant, Mike Lasky, 2163
25, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at Artificial Flower Shop, Amy Goldberg, 334
26, $50 Gift Certificate redeemable at Get Up N Dance Studio – Mike & Nicole Sweeney, Joann Bacon, 551
27, $20 Gift Certificate redeemable at Oasis Restaurant & $15 Gift Certificate redeemable at Lee Po Chinese Restaurant, Todd Fitzsimons, 2534
28, $25 Gift Certificate redeemable at it! Candy!, Sue Dziura, 3581