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Dunedin museum benefits from Duck Derby
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The second annual Duck Derby is Saturday, June 22, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Weaver Park, 1249 Bayshore Blvd.
DUNEDIN – For this competitive event, it’s hard for organizers to have their ducks in a row. That’s because the ducks are rubber and don’t seem to have a sense of direction. The second Dunedin Duck Derby is Saturday, June 22, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Weaver Park.

In the race, presented by the Dunedin Historical Museum, legions of rubber ducks will be put into the sound at Weaver Park and, with the help of kayakers, they will float in the water along three-quarters of the length of the park’s dock.

As in last year’s derby, people will pay a fee, $5 for one and $12 for three, to sponsor a rubber ducks, which are assigned numbers. Then it’s up to lady luck.

Cash prizes are awarded to people whose ducks finish first, second and third, $200, $100 and $50 respectively. Prizes also include tickets to local venues.

“We are trying to put up to 1,000 ducks in the water this year,” said Lauren Sherbuk, Dunedin Historical Museum administrative assistant.

“Every duck is named and numbered. They all have their own names starting with a D,” she said, “which was a fun project.”

The race is under 30 minutes and will start between 11:30 a.m. and noon. The distance is three-quarters of the length of the dock at Weaver Park, about a 120-yard race.

The event was spurred by museum Director Vincent Luisi’s visit to Long Island while he was on a vacation.

“I was going down one of the small communities on the eastern end of Long Island. It was Fourth of July weekend, and I saw this sign that said, ‘Pick a duck and watch it swim’ or something and I actually stopped and watched the race. I saw it and I thought what a novel idea that not too many places down here do that,” Luisi said.

Through the Internet, he learned that South Carolina was among the few places that have such events.

“The only other place that really had it was Safety Harbor. Dunedin had nothing like this,” Luisi said.

He envisioned the event as a way to identify the museum with a distinctive fundrasier “that no one else has ever tried.”

“With Dunedin Duck Derby we had the three Ds,” he said.

The event also includes a duck pond, which features 200 numbered rubber ducks.

“We have 10 to 12 special prizes and you pick a number in that pond, and if we pull your duck out, you win one of those prizes like a family package to MOSI, a package to the Lowry Park Zoo, box tickets for the Rays’ games, dinner at Bon Appetit,” he said.

The cost is $10 a duck.

Luisi hopes the family-oriented event to be an annual fundraiser for the museum.

The event also includes vendors, music, games, food and drinks. A children’s corner will have games that are duck-oriented, such as tic-tac-duck and toss-a-duck.

The Dunedin Blue Jays will have the team’s mascot on hand.

Proceeds will help sponsor the museum’s exhibits as well as children’s programs and other activities.

“We do have several locations to buy (sponsor) your ducks,” Luisi said.

Those include the Dunedin Public Library, the Candy Bar, the Dunedin Community Center, the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce and the Dunedin Historical Museum. Sponsors are given a card which provides them with the name of the duck they sponsored.

On the day before the race, June 21, the only place to sponsor the ducks are at the museum. Then they will be available at the park on June 22.

Call the museum at 736-1176 or send an email to info@dunedinmuseum.org.

Perhaps the hardest work in running the event has been done – naming all the ducks starting with the letter “D.”

“I spent one long night writing up a lot of names,” Luisi said.
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