Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival

Ducks to swim May 6 for charities and fun ~

There’s a cause, a charity or an organization for everyone in this year’s Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival on Saturday, May 6, 2017. The challenge may be to choose just one.

When tickets are purchased, either online or in person from one of the 68 groups selected as beneficiaries, the buyer is asked to select a charity. Because volunteers power the Duck Race, $19 of the $20 adoption fee ($21 online) goes to the designated group.

Then, at 1 p.m. on May 6, about 6,000 little yellow plastic ducks will “swim” the Fall River from Nicky’s Steakhouse on Fall River Road to George Hix Riverside Plaza in downtown Estes Park. As the ducks cross the finish line, prizes are announced. This year’s major prizes have a total value of $11,000 and will send the winners on trips or cruises to the Caribbean, Riviera Maya, Napa, CA, Savannah, GA or New York City. Local merchants have donated an additional 500 prizes, each valued at $20 or more.

Here’s a run-down on race day activities at three key locations:

Nicky’s Steakhouse (1350 Fall River Rd., Estes Park)

  • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Warm-up for the duck drop: Riverside Ramblers Dixieland-style band, Ballet Renaissance’s Ballerina Duckies, Estes Park Singers, Duck Squat split the pot raffle
  • 12:30 p.m. Duck adoptions end
  • 10 a.m. – noon – Retail sales of duck-themed merchandise
  • 1 p.m. Ceremonial duck drop by F.O. Stanley (aka Kurtis Kelly) in commemoration of the Town of Estes Park’s Centennial

Bond Park – downtown Estes Park on Elkhorn Ave.

  • 8 – 10 a.m. Pancake breakfast sponsored by Kiwanis and Longs Peak Rotary
  • 9 a.m. Duck Waddle 5K sponsored by the Estes Park Running Club (information and online registration at 7:30 a.m. race day registration in front of library
  • 9:45 a.m. Duck Waddle awards ceremony
  • 10 a.m. – 1p.m. Beer garden
  • 10:30 a.m. – noon Singer/songwriter Cowboy Brad performance on main stage
  • 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Games, family fun sponsored by 22 Duck Race beneficiaries
  • 8 a.m. – noon – Buy duck adoptions from any charity in Bond Park, the Visitor Center and other downtown retail locations.

George Hix Riverside Plaza – finish line

  • 12:30 – 4 p.m. Ballet Renaissance Ballerina Duckies, Estes Park Band Boosters bake sale, Estes Park Rotary retail sales of duck-themed goodies, Duck Squat split the pot raffle
  • 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. balloon art, face painting
  • 12:15 – 2 p.m. Highland Brass Quintet
  • 2:15 – 4 p.m. Ran Off the Rooster – Americana/folk/bluegrass band
  • 12:30 – 2 p.m. Bruiser the Big Dog character entertains kids of all ages
  • As ducks cross the finish line – prize boards at The Wheel Bar

Online sales have been outpacing paper adoption forms this year, an indication that beneficiaries are telling friends and family that buying online is quick and easy.

“Our beneficiaries are working hard to sell adoption forms because they rely on Duck Race proceeds for programs, operations, scholarships and grants,” said ‘Big Duck’ Gregg Jurgens. “We are pleased to partner with them and excited to be in the home stretch to May 6.”

For a description of any group or to adopt a duck online, go to, click on “charities” from the menu on the left side, then click on a charity to follow a link to more information. Or see the Duck Race Facebook page for posts on individual charities: or to adopt a single duck or a flock.

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