CEDAR RAPIDS — There’s still time to get your ducks in a row as the Cedar Rapids Daybreak Rotary Club hosts its ninth annual Great Eastern Iowa Duck Race beginning at noon Saturday at the Sister Mary Lawrence Community Center, 420 Sixth St. SE in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Once again, the grand prize is $10,000 with a variety of other prizes offered, including a sports fan getaway package valued at $2,600, $1,000 toward fire pit and landscaping materials, a $1,000 Phelan’s shopping spree and a $500 restaurant tour package.
The annual event raises money to benefit area youth. Since its inception, more than $540,000 has been given to local organizations.
This year’s beneficiaries are YouthPort at Polk Education Center (Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids, Tanager Place and Young Parents Network), Jon Cushing Sunshine Fund, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kids First Law Center and the ESNA Village Network, which works to improve the health, education and economic conditions of the rural poor in El Salvador.
Cost to adopt ducks is as follows: $5 per duck; $25 for a “Quack Pack” of six ducks; $50 for a “Quacker Dozen” of 13 ducks; and $100 for 28 ducks.
To purchase ducks and for more information, go to easterniowaduckrace.org.
Ducks also will be sold during Saturday’s Downtown Farmers Market.
Run exclusively by volunteers, the annual Great Eastern Iowa Duck Race is patterned after a successful duck race held in the 1990s in Cedar Rapids.
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Later this week, volunteers plan to number thousands of ducks purchased as they are prepared for race day.
On Saturday, at 1 p.m., the race begins with the rubber ducks floating toward the finish line. The person who adopted the first duck to reach the finish is to be named the grand prize winner, and so on.
Nearly 7,000 ducks already have been adopted and Rotary Club members hope to reach 15,000 by race day.
“It’s all for kids,” said David Drewelow, president of the Daybreak Rotary Club. “We typically raise between $60,000 and $75,000 and most of that money stays local. This is direct support for those agencies that serve local youth.”
Drewelow thanked the event sponsors which he said help offset the costs and means all the money raised through duck adoptions can be donated to the organizations chosen as beneficiaries.
“We encourage people to go online and buy a duck,” he said. “This is a community thing.”