Rhody Run, Duck Derby and taiko drummers set for today

More than 2,500 runners and walkers are expected to participate in the 28th annual Rhody Run in Port Townsend today, the final event of this weekend’s Rhododendron Festival.

Today is also:

* Race day for the 17th annual Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby in Port Angeles.

* Sushi, origami, Japanese consulate dignitaries, a garden tour and taiko drummers at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim.

Other Rhododendrom Festival events today:

* Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open Golf Tournament — Port Townsend Golf Course, 9 a.m.

* Elks Rhody Fundraiser Pancake Breakfast — Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St., 10 a.m.

* Rhododendron Flower Show and Plant Sale — Chapel at Fort Worden State Park, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and there is a plant raffle.

In addition, some of Jefferson County’s best specialty nurseries will sell ornamental grasses, ferns, large trees, hostas, bamboo, water plans and other unusual perennials in the Chimacum High School parking lot, 91 West Valley Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Rhody Run at Fort Worden

Today’s hilly, 12-kilometer (7.4 miles) Rhody Run starts at 11 a.m.

Preregistration packet pickup and late registration begin at 9 a.m. on the parade grounds at Fort Worden State Park, where the race starts and finishes.

Registration is $25.

There will be shuttles to Fort Worden from the Haines Place Park-and-Ride adjacent to Safeway and from the state ferry terminal.

Rhody Run attracts world-class athletes, novice runners, walkers and families with children.

The course loops through Port Townsend, going through neighborhoods and rural areas, with aid stations along the way.

In the past years, residents have given Krispy Kreme doughnuts, energy drinks, fruit and other treats to passing runners.

Other bystanders spray water on the runners and walkers and play “Chariots of Fire.”

Award presentations begin at 2 p.m.

Awards are given to the top three finishers for both men and women.

Medallions will go to the first three finishers in 16 age divisions for both men and women.

All finishers will receive a Rhody Run 2006 T-shirt, a pin and post-race refreshments.

Last year’s Rhody Run had 2,309 finishers, the fourth largest in the event’s history.

Day of the ducks

About 30,000 yellow rubber ducks will race down the Nippon Paper Industries USA canal at the base of Ediz Hook in Port Angeles.

Today’s race begins at 1 p.m., preceded by the VID race (for larger, $250 Very Important Ducks purchased by businesses and individuals) at 12:30 p.m.

Set up before the races next to the canal will be a kids’ pavilion (sponsored by Star Video of Port Angeles) and refreshment vendors.

Almost 60 prizes worth more than $25,000 will be determined by which numbered rubber ducks floating down the canal on the incoming tide reach the finish line first.

The grand prize, a new Toyota pickup truck donated by Wilder Toyota, goes to the person owning the first-place duck.

In addition to the pickup, racers can win cash prizes sponsored by 7 Cedars Casino, men’s and women’s snowboards, travel packages, gift certificates, and dozens of other prizes from merchants.

First prize in the VID race is $1,000 cash.

Derby tickets still available

You can last-minute Duck Derby tickets at the race site.

The ducks cost $5 each, or $25 for either six ducks in the race, or five race ducks and a rubber duck to take home.

Proceeds benefit the Olympic Medical Center Foundation and Sequim Rotary Club.

You must be over age 18 to purchase a ticket.

The ducks are numbered, and buyers are given a ticket with matching number.

All of the numbered ducks will be dumped into the canal, and each duck is tagged on crossing the finish line.

In addition to the race-day prizes, every derby ticket comes with more than $20 worth of coupons for values donated by local businesses.

Japanese culture today

Sushi, Northwest Taiko’s thunderous drumming and ikebana flower arrangements will converge today at Carrie Blake Park’s Guy Cole Convention Center, 202 N. Blake Ave.

The Sequim-Shiso, Japan, Sister City Association will host the event from noon to 3 p.m.

Admission is free, but the association welcomes donations to help send Sequim students to Shiso, formerly known as Yamasaki, this November.

Today’s event also features Japanese anime and orgami tables, Chiyo Sanada’s calligraphy demonstration, Japanese consulate officials from Seattle and tours of the Sequim-Shiso Friendship Garden in the park.

Following this event, the Sequim City Band plays Sousa marches plus pop and classical pieces in the bandshell just north of the park beginning at 3 p.m.

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