Port Angeles duck derby moving to June to spur more ticket sales to tourists
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Thousands of plastic ducks tumble out of a dump truck and into the Lincoln Park pond during the 23rd annual Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby in Port Angeles last year. -- Peninsula Daily News photo

By Arwyn Rice and Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The 24th Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby, traditionally held in May, will be in June this year.

Rubber ducks will be dumped into the pond at Lincoln Park at 1500 W. Lauridsen Blvd., on Sunday, June 9. Last year, the race was on May 13.

The date has been changed in hopes of increasing sales by having duck tickets available during Memorial Day weekend and the two weeks after, said Bruce Skinner, executive director of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation which, along with the Sequim Rotary Club’s charitable projects, benefits from the race.

Tickets will go on sale May 9. They will be available to tourists in town for the Esprit 2013 transgender convention May 12-19, the Halibut Derby on May 24-25, the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts on May 24-27 and the North Olympic Discovery Marathon on June 2, Skinner said.

“I always wanted to sell over Memorial Day weekend because of the tourists,” he said, pointing out that volunteers will be selling tickets at busy times at Swain’s General Store and Safeway and saying that duck derby tickets are poplar with Esprit conventioneers.

“This may prove to be wrong, but we think it’s worth a shot,” Skinner said.

He and volunteers who sell duck tickets hope to increase the number of ducks entered in a race that is already one of the most popular in the nation.

“It’s one of the top 10 races in the U.S., and the largest per capita,” Skinner said. “It kind of captures the town.”

Some 30,000 ducks were in the 2013 race, held in the Lincoln Park pond and netting about $100,000.

Skinner hopes to push that to about 32,000 ducks and perhaps reach sales of $120,000 to match the event’s best year in 2008.

“We will be looking for more volunteers to sell ducks,” Skinner said.

Participants “adopt” rubber ducks by buying duck tickets, which cost $5 per duck or $25 for six.

For each rubber duck that’s “adopted,” the purchaser receives a ticket with a printed number that corresponds to the number on the duck.

All of the numbered ducks are dumped into the pond.

The “owners” of the first 42 ducks to cross the finish line win prizes.

Skinner said that the later date may not help the Duck Derby’s chances for clear skies and a warm day for the event.

“Both May and June are a bit iffy,” he said. “It could be great weather or bad weather.”

This is the second major change for the Duck Derby in as many years.

The derby was held at Nippon Paper Industries USA’s canal off Marine Drive through 2011 but was displaced during the construction of the paper mill’s new biomass power generation plant.

Instead, the ducks have to make their own way across the Lincoln Park pond, encouraged by volunteers from the Port Angeles Fire Department firefighters who use fire hoses to push the mass of ducks across the pond.

For more information, visit www.omhf.org.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.



Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at leah.leach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 04. 2013 6:12PM
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