Estes Park Duck Race Festival

Planners hope to raise $135,000 for local charities

The Fall River may be gurgling under ice, but the 2019 Estes Park Rotary Duck Race is just around the bend. Thousands of little yellow plastic ducks will “race” downriver following the Duck Drop at 1 p.m.

The 2019 theme for Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival is “Lucky’s New Adventure.” Mascot Lucky Duck has donned hiking attire to enhance the theme. Tim Buck, artist and creator of “The Local Herd” comic strip, designed the 2019 poster, adoption form, button art, and logo as part of his major sponsorship donation to the race.

The Saturday, May 4, festival will offer activities at the Start Line at Nicky’s Steakhouse, 1350 Fall River Rd., and the Finish Line at George Hix Memorial Riverside Plaza at the Confluence of the Big Thompson and Fall Rivers behind the businesses on East Elkhorn Ave. in downtown Estes Park. The day begins with a Duck Waddle 5K sponsored by the Estes Park Running Club. (Register at With interactive games for the kids, live music and entertainment, the festival promises fun for all ages, said 2019 ‘Big Duck’ Kathy Groesbeck.

“This is The Rotary Club of Estes Park’s largest fun-raising and fundraising event, a not-to-be missed Saturday in the mountains,” she said.

The reason for the race? To help 67 Estes Valley participating organizations. The complete list of beneficiaries is on

““I am very excited about the number and quality of the participating organizations we will be supporting this year,” said Larry Williams, Duck Race Festival Committee member who coordinated selection of charities and groups. “We are welcoming some new organizations and look forward to their participation.”

The 2019 event will feature a major cash prize and three getaway packages with accommodations donated by Delaware North Parks and Resorts and trip expenses donated by the Estes Park Duck Race.

• Grand Prize $5,000 cash.

• Three-night stay for two at The Pine Lodge, Whitefish, Montana, located on the doorstep of majestic Glacier National Park. The resort offers comfortable year-round accommodations for guests traveling through Whitefish, Montana. This facility is situated alongside the Whitefish River, with many rooms boasting views of the surrounding mountain tops. Glacier National Park is a mere 25 miles away, offering an abundance of recreational opportunities. The package includes access to all amenities: continental breakfast, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, bicycles; a guided trip to Glacier National Park; and a round of golf.

• Three-night stay for two at Tenaya Lodge, Fish Camp, California, a stunning mountain resort set two miles from Yosemite National Park and surrounded by noble evergreen forest. Tenaya Lodge is an all-season resort featuring lodge rooms and cottage rooms, a rich range of recreational activities, a 10,000 square-foot luxury spa, indoor and outdoor pools and five dining venues located on the property. The package includes an all-day tour of Yosemite for two.

• Three-night stay for two in Old Faithful Cabin, West Yellowstone, Montana. Clustered in five camp settings, this 50-cabin property combines the charm of cabin lodging with the joys of generational travel and dog-friendly travel. Open year-round, the Old Faithful Cabin is minutes from the Park’s West Entrance and a short drive from Old Faithful. The package includes: all-day guided interpretive snow coach tour to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone or Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park; park entrance fees and box lunches; dinner for two at the Branch Restaurant; tickets to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and IMAX Theater in West Yellowstone.
“Everyone loves to take a vacation, and we want to help with some great choices this year,” Groesbeck said. “The trip prizes will certainly add to the excitement for our fans.”

The generosity of major and associate sponsors makes the race possible. A major sponsor contributes $500 or more in cash or services. An associate sponsor kicks in $100 in cash or services. The company logos of major sponsors and names of associate sponsors appear on Duck Race posters and website. In addition, major sponsors are listed on adoption forms.

The goal for 2019 is to raise $135,000 or more in duck adoptions that will benefit the 67 participating organizations that sell them, Groesbeck said. For each $20 adoption form sold, $19 goes to the beneficiaries. In the past 30 years, the Estes Park Duck Race has returned more than $2.6 million to the Estes Valley. Adopt in person on race day or online at Online adoptions will incur a $2 handling fee per adoption.

Questions? Email or call 970-480-5002.
The Estes Park Duck Race Festival begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 4, with activities continuing until 4:30 p.m. The full schedule is available at

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