Boys & Girls Club 5th annual Duck Race this Sunday

Boys & Girls Club 5th annual Duck Race this Sunday

CUMBERLAND - It has been five years since the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln first dumped 17,500 rubber ducks into the Blackstone River in the pouring rain to a crowd of 300 spectators.

Since then, not only has the weather been more cooperative, but the annual event has seen up to 3,000 community members come out for the day of festivities and fundraising as they cross their fingers and hope their duck crosses the finish line first.

This year, the Duck Race event will be held rain or shine on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ducks will be dropped into the river from the Martin Street Bridge at Hope Global at 1 p.m.

"Watching the kids following the ducks down the river, that's a special thing," said Craig Bloomer, the club's executive director, noting that watching the ducks pour into the river is as exciting for adults.

Tickets to get a duck in the race cost $5, and can be purchased at the club, 1 James J. McKee Way, up until the day of the race. Call 401-333-4850 for more information.

More than 30 partner organizations are also selling tickets for $5 each, with half the proceeds from those tickets going back to the organizations and half going to the Boys & Girls Club.

Close to 14,000 ducks have been sold, Bloomer said, which is about the same as last year.

He said organizers are looking to attract visitors from neighboring towns.

"We're pretty strong in the Cumberland, Lincoln area," he said. "We're trying to sell outside the area."

All proceeds go to supplementing the club's operating budget for youth activities and programs. Since its inception, the Duck Race has brought in about $22,900, Bloomer said. He hopes this year will bring the total to $27,500.

Special events like the race make up about $250,000, or a third of the annual budget, he said.

"The community supports us greatly," Bloomer said. "It's a nice festive day.

There are more than 50 prizes at stake for winners.

Cash prizes for the top three finishers are $2,500, $1,000, and $500, respectively. The rest of the prizes include gift certificates and gift baskets full of prizes from area restaurants and businesses.

Aside from the race, the event promises a day of family fun.

Food will be available from Davenport's Restaurant and Mickey G's Clam Shack. A dozen vendors will sell wares, and the Office of Children Youth and Learning will be giving away books, Bloomer said.

Visitors should also expect a bounce house, an obstacle course and a Zumba class.

The Cumberland CERT crew will again help with parking up and down Martin Street, Bloomer said, and Cumberland Fire and Rescue and the Cumberland Police Department will be on site.

Friends of the Blackstone provide kayaking help, as well as vests for volunteers. More than 100 volunteers are expected, Bloomer said, including 45 members of the Providence College men's lacrosse team, who will fish the ducks out of the river at the conclusion of the race.