GLADSTONE - The Delta County Jaycees will hold the 17th annual Duck Races at Van Cleve Park Saturday.
The day kicks off with the second annual 5K Run, Walk, Waddle. Registration for the 5K will begin at 9 a.m.; the race begins at 10:30 a.m. Last year more than 60 runners and walkers participated.
The Duck Races begin at noon.
"We race 300 ducks at a time," said Brian Nelson, president of the Delta County Jaycees. The top finishing ducks from each race will be entered into the final heat, where they will compete for prizes. The final heat will take place around 5:30 p.m.
"There's 25 prizes, and in the final heat of the duck races, as the ducks cross the finish line, that's what prize they get on the ticket," said Nelson. "So the first duck that crosses the finish line gets the first place prize, the second duck to cross gets the second place prize, and so on."
The owner of the first place duck's ticket will receive $5,000 cash. Second place receives a kayak package, which includes two 12-foot kayaks, paddles, and life jackets; third place receives a 47-inch LED TV and Blu-Ray player. Other prizes include scholarships to Bay College, jewelry and gift certificates.
"There's roughly around $19,000 worth of prizes," said Nelson.
Duck Race entry tickets can still be purchased the day of the event until around 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 each or six for $20.
Following the final heat will be the Unlucky Duck Race. The winner of the race is the duck that crosses the finish line last. "Those are sold strictly the day of the event," said Nelson. "The top prize for that is $500."
"We're also trying something new this year, we're putting on a kickball tournament," said Nelson. "That should be something fun." Kickball participants must pre-register.
A complementary picnic will be served from 1 to 3 p.m. The picnic is sponsored by Crawford Funeral Homes and Bill Marmalick of Premier Real Estate and will feature brats and hot dogs. A beer tent will also be open from noon to 11 p.m. Other events at the Duck Races will include kids activities and a bean bag tournament, sponsored by Benoit Glass & Lock, starting at 1 p.m. Live music will be provided by Bad Munkee from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The Duck Races are just one of the fundraisers put on by the Jaycees throughout the year. "The Jaycees is a community organization that is geared toward younger adults," said Nelson. "We do fundraising to give back to the community."
The money from the Duck Races will primarily go towards the Jaycees' Thanksgiving program. "Our biggest thing that we raise money for is Operation Thanksgiving Baskets. Over the past couple years we've given between 300 and 350 baskets," said Nelson. The baskets, which are filled with Thanksgiving foods like turkey and stuffing, are given to less fortunate families.