Seven thousand rubber ducks raced down the Alouette River on Sunday, raising $70,000 for the first annual Rotary Duck Race.
Organizers were initially hoping to raise $100,000, with 10,000 ducks racing at $10 a duck for children’s charities.
Nevertheless, Mary Robson, a member of the organizing committee, was thrilled with the amount raised in what she hopes will become an annual event.
It was a high bar to reach. Initially, organizers were aiming for $60,000, but after received much positive feedback, set the bar a bit higher.
Robson hopes that momentum from the first event will help the duck race raise $100,000 next year.
The only problem this year, she said, was parking.
“We has such a great turnout that parking was an issue.”
About 1,500 people turned up at Maple Ridge Park to watch the race on the North Alouette River, said Ineke Boekhorst, chair of the Rotary Duck Race.
Festivities ran from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. with live music, children’s bouncy castles, arts and crafts and face painting. Dilly the Clown and Mrs. Click entertained children with balloons and puppets. Dr. David Rempel had birds on display and Wildplay provided fun activities for all ages. Food and beverages were provided by the Kiwanis Club of Golden Ears.
Boekhorst was amazed by the community support for the event.
“This is the most we have ever raised for one single event,” she said. “And, it is all for the kids.”
The first $25,000 will be going to the Maple Ridge chapter of KidSport, which assists with registration costs for children who would not otherwise be able to play.
The remaining amount will go to youth sports and other Rotary youth projects in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
The grand prize of this year’s event, a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4×4 valued at $24,692, provided by Maple Ridge Chrysler, was won by Jeff Walker.
Second prize, a one-week luxury cruise for two on Holland America Lines, valued at $3,200, was won by Melissa Smith.
Third prize, a $2,500 gift certificate for Mark’s Work Warehouse, was won by Velma Koob.