CAMDEN—A nervous lone duck waddled away from a kayak in the stretch of Megunticook River by the Riverhouse foot bridge. Perhaps he knew something was up. Minutes later, members of West Bay Rotary and volunteers standing all along the foot bridge released 2,500 of his rubber brethren into the river, kicking off the 2015 Duck Derby.
It was a beautiful sunny day with hundreds of blue, yellow and pink ducks dotting the river. All week, volunteers had set up nearly 300 floating “noodles” as barriers to guide the ducks to the finish line. This year’s course had been rerouted, starting at the foot bridge with groups of observers at various locations all over Camden as the ducks took about 25 minutes to cruise under the buildings, come out in the stretch behind Camden Deli and spill over the waterfalls. As always, a few ducks went rogue and took both sides of the falls, coursing out into the harbor where a team of volunteers scooped them up with nets. This year, a number of kids served as Duck Patrol at the foot of the waterfalls scooping up errant ducks with small fishing nets.
The first lucky duck to cross the finish line belonged to a ticket purchased by Steven Dailey, who won seven nights at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort in Naples, Fl. The 2nd prize winner was Mary Sargent, who won jewelry donated by Etienne Perret. The third prize winner was Noel Cox who won a lobster dinner for four donated by Lisa Dresser and Sandy Cox. The 4th prize winner was D. (Dennis) Sidik who won dinner for two at The Hartstone Inn.
Unlike last year where the ducks got somewhat confused as to where they were supposed to go, this year went off without a hitch. “We really had wind and the tide on our side this year,” said Rotarian Peter Berke. “We sold out of all of our tickets, which is a record. We had a great crowd and it wouldn’t have happened without all of our volunteers. We even had a bunch of kids who wanted to help collect the wayward ducks by the waterfalls, so we handed out some fishing nets and they went right to work.”
The sale of each ticket benefits a number of charities West Bay Rotary supports such as food pantries and The Hospitality House. For more pictures and updates, visit the West Bay Rotary’s Facebook page.
All photos by Kay Stephens
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org