GOWANDA - For the first time in four years, the Ducky Derby has returned to Cattaraugus Creek. The 21st annual derby was held Thursday night in Creekside Park.
The past few years the creek has not been safe for the event, according to Gowanda Chamber of Commerce Secretary Linda Boats. The alternate location for the event has been the pond adjacent to the fire hall.
"We wanted to make it more fun and exciting," Boats said.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Mr. Quackers danced with children at the Ducky Derby Thursday night at Creekside Park.
For the derby, individual ducks were purchased for $5. Each duck was numbered and the "owner" of the duck was able to name his or her duck. The ducks were then released into the creek and raced down a course made out of pool noodles. The first 10 ducks to reach the finish line were awarded cash prizes ranging from $300 to $25. This year, the ducks almost sold out, having about 40 ducks remain unsold out of 500.
"We're pretty excited about that," Boats said.
For being outside, the weather cooperated for the event, however the water did not. The course was originally closer to the shore line but the current was going in two directions causing the ducks to not move. The course was moved further down Cattaraugus Creek to a spot where the current would work for the ducks, not against them.
"The weather was fantastic, a beautiful day," Boats said. "We had very good attendance (and) we did really well."
The Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event with all proceeds going back to the chamber. The Gowanda Fire Department helped with releasing and catching the ducks in the water which was much appreciated, Boats said.
"Thanks to the Gowanda Fire Department and everyone who helped at the Chamber," she said. "Thanks to the village for cleaning up the park and bringing the tables down."
The winners of the derby were from first to last place: Dorothy McCoy, Carl Emerly, Lucille Fetterick, Phyllis Elvers, Liz Reid, Joe Perchy, Dan Leroy, Cindy Arrigo, Shila Ray and Dave Tessmer.
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