Estes Park Duck Race Festival May 7, 2022

ESTES PARK, CO (April 25, 2022) — The Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival is ready to entertain festival-goers of all ages, starting with the Duck Waddle 5K at 9 a.m., followed by live entertainment and activities for children and adults of all ages from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.

As every race fan knows, following those little yellow ducks or running a 5K can work up an appetite, so restaurants and coffee shops near the start and finish lines will be ready to welcome hungry duck fans. Music and other live entertainment, including the ever-popular Duck Squat, will take place outside of  Nicky’s Restaurant and Nicky’s Resort from 10 a.m. until the highlight of the day – the dropping of thousands of little yellow rubber duckies into Fall River – at 1 p.m. outside of Nicky’s. More entertainment, including live music, face painting, balloon art, and other activities, will take place at  George Hix Memorial Riverside Plaza from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

This year, many participating nonprofit and charitable organizations and major sponsors of the Duck  Race will set up displays and activities at George Hix Memorial Riverside Plaza from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Visitors to the organizations’ displays will learn about the work they are doing, and enjoy family-friendly,  duck-themed activities. Organizations will help guests to purchase online duck adoptions at their tables until 1 p.m. 

To keep the fans of all ages fully entertained, the festival is planning several hours of live music and activities. “This year features a variety of music for all ages and tastes…. a brass quintet, a jazz band, an acoustic rock/folk duo, the Estes Park High School Choir, and an African drum group,” said Karen  Thompson, who is coordinating entertainment this year. 

“Both the starting line area outside of Nicky’s Restaurant and Nicky’s Resort, and the finish line at  Riverside Plaza, will house the entertainment this year. Duck Race visitors are encouraged to visit both locations. The ducks will be dropped into the river at Nicky’s at 1 p.m. and will swim as fast as they can to reach Riverside Plaza in downtown Estes Park,” said Thompson. “Some years, it only takes 30-40  minutes, other years it has been more than an hour. It all depends on how fast or slow the river is flowing,” said Thompson. Estes Park musical groups will perform at both locations and will include Skip Neilson & Karen Nicholson, the Riverside Ramblers, Highland Brass Quintet, and Djembe Jive drummers.  We will have lots to entertain kids and adults. What I am most hopeful for is a day of sunshine and warm temperatures. Come and celebrate spring in Estes Park.” 

New features of the Duck Race Festival this year are a scavenger hunt being run by the Estes Chamber of  Commerce, and an expanded performance by Ballet Renaissance on the stage at Performance Park.  Further details about those activities will be available at Riverside Plaza on Race Day. The Rocky  Mountain Channel and Nick Molle will live stream the Race beginning at 12:45 p.m.

The Race Day schedule will give race fans time to travel to Nicky’s for the Duck Drop at 1 p.m. and then return to the Finish Line in time to watch the little yellow ducks arrive. In addition to the live music,  Riverside Plaza will offer a host of family activities, including Jasbo the Balloon Artiste, and face painting. The sale of duck-themed merchandise will take place at both venues. The Estes Park Rotary Club also will sell its $10 Friendship Card, which provides discounts at over 80 locations in Estes Park, at Riverside  Plaza.  

Winners will be posted on prize boards near the finish line, and a full listing of winners will be posted on the Duck Race website at as soon as possible following the Race. First prize is  $8,000 cash, with other major prizes of $5,000 cash, $2,000 cash, and two 3-night vacation stays for two donated by Delaware North, one at Old Faithful Cabin, Yellowstone National Park and one at The Pine  Lodge on Whitefish River, near Glacier National Park. Hundreds of other prizes from local merchants will mean lots of winners on Race Day. 

“Everyone is excited for the ducks to be racing in Fall River again this year, and to invite residents and visitors to a community-wide festival in its 34th year,” said Beth Weisberg, Big Duck 2022. “There are 67  great reasons to attend the 2022 Duck Race: to adopt ducks to raise funds for the 66 local nonprofit and charitable organizations that serve needs in the Estes Valley, and – the 67th reason – to have a day full of fun,” she said. 

To adopt a duck for your choice of those participating organizations, visit  Nineteen dollars of every $22 duck adoption goes to your selected organization. Ducks may be adopted online until 1:00 p.m. mountain standard time on May 7.  

For an updated schedule of entertainment, visit For more information about the Duck Waddle 5K or to register, see

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