By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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PORT ANGELES — Why did the rubber duck cross the pond? To win a truck and other prizes.
The 2014 Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby will begin at 2:30 p.m. Sunday when some 30,000 yellow toys will be poured into the pond at Lincoln Park on West Lauridsen Boulevard to begin floating to the finish line — with a little help from the Port Angeles Fire Department's firehoses.
The first duck to make its way across the pond will win a 2014 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck or a Toyota Corolla provided by Wilder Toyota for its ticket-holder.
The next 41 who cross the finish line also will be worth prizes, which total a value of more than $25,000.
As of Wednesday, 20,000 duck entries had been sold for this 25th annual event, said Bruce Skinner, Olympic Medical Center Foundation executive director.
He expects that number to swell by some 10,000 before the race, saying that usually, many last-minute ducks are purchased and many ticket sellers don't turn in their tickets until the last day.
The derby raises money for the Olympic Medical Center Foundation and Sequim Rotary Club.
A half-hour before the main event, at 2 p.m., the Bub and Alice Olsen Very Important Duck (VID) Race will be held.
The race features ducks emblazoned with the logos or names of businesses or individuals — each costing $250 or $500 and each oversized.
But the very biggest duck of all won't be there Sunday.
A 65-foot-tall yellow rubber duck balloon nicknamed “Giant Quacky” was inflated on a lot across from Swain's General Store on East First Street last Saturday.
It will tower over traffic and businesses until this Saturday.
Quacky is headed to Idaho for its next appearance, but not before it had attracted a lot of interest and a bit of consternation from its duck wranglers.
“I think it went really well. It definitely had a wow factor,” Skinner said.
On Sunday, the giant duck waddled a few feet with the help of 20 mph wind gusts.
The 6½-story duck was tied to four 1,000-pound traffic barriers when the wind came up, Skinner said.
“It started to drag one of the barriers ever so slowly,” he said.
Organizers decided the duck ought to come down before it began to challenge traffic.
The organization also displays 12- and 20-foot duck balloons, which Skinner said impresses local residents, but the giant balloon was something altogether different.
“People don't realize how big 65 feet is until they see it,” he said.
Each rubber duck entry costs $5, or a flock of six for $25.
Duck tickets can be purchased from members of the OMC Foundation, many OMC employees, Sequim Rotary Club members and Forks' Soroptimist International of the Olympic Rainforest, as well as volunteers.
Duck tickets also are on sale at the Peninsula Daily News office today at 305 W. First St. in Port Angeles, both Safeway stores in Port Angeles, Swain's General Store, Albertsons, Lovell's Chevron, Roadrunner 76, all First Federal locations on the North Olympic Peninsula and Jim's Pharmacy.
For more information, phone the Olympic Medical Center Foundation at 360-417-7144 or visit its website at www.omhf.org.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.