Arts and Entertainment

Fall City Days | Duck races mean cool prizes, help for school

A volunteer uses a floating boom to channel Fall City
A volunteer uses a floating boom to channel Fall City's Ducky Derby.
— image credit: William Shaw/Staff Photo

They’re out of the tub and on the loose, all for a great cause.

During Fall City Days, rubber ducks get the chance to see the rushing waters of the Snoqualmie River, and take a thrilling tumble from the heights of the Fall City bridge.

During the annual Ducky Derby, the little guys race their way down the Snoqualmie River for fun and prizes, all to benefit Fall City Elementary.

For $5, entrants in the Ducky Derby get themselves a specially numbered and weighted racing duck for the competition. Only 1,000 ducks are available, with more than 50 finishers qualifying for prizes.

The grand prize in the Ducky Derby is a whopping $500, which is probably a lot more than any rubber duck bobbing up and down in the tub ever dreamed of winning. More cash and lots of additional prizes, and gift certificates donated by local businesses are also up for grabs.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Laurie Hauglie, who has helped organized the Ducky Derby for several years.

“There’s something about those yellow ducks, floating down the river. Everybody giggles.”

The ducks will begin the 400-foot course from the state Route 202 bridge over the Snoqualmie River. From there, they travel downriver with the help of a floating boom and volunteers with leaf blowers.

The extra bit of oomph is required to help the ducks all go in the right direction and to keep them from washing up on the river banks. Local dogs and small children are usually tempted to chase after and catch the ducks as well, so volunteers do all they can to make sure every racing duck reaches the finish line.

These measures are the result of the Ducky Derby’s inaugural run, which was down the Raging River.

“The first year was just wild,” said Hauglie. Heavy rains, rough waters and generally not knowing what to expect when 1,000 rubber ducks were released on the river gave organizers a lot to think about for future events.

Fortunately, the Ducky Derby runs as smoothly as the Indy 500 these days, which allows everyone to concentrate on just having fun, especially at the big start.

Aside from being good old-fashioned fun, Hauglie feels the Ducky Derby adds an important element to the Fall City Days celebration by incorporating the river and the community’s connection to the waterway into the festivities. Without the river and the Falls, there would be no Fall City.

You can purchase your racing ducks in advance at Hauglie Insurance, Sno Falls Credit Union in Fall City, Creative Business and from Fall City PTSA members.


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