10th Rotary Duck Derby, YMCA Healthy Kids Day Set for Patriot’s Park

by Robert Kimmel

Cheers from the crowd and the amused shouts of youngsters will be heard throughout Patriot’s Park later this month as the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns and the Family YMCA combine two exciting events that have become an annual tradition.

Mimi Godwin and JoAnne Murray have entertained crowds at Duck Derby since the event’s inception.

Mimi Godwin and JoAnne Murray have entertained crowds at Duck Derby since the event’s inception.

On Saturday, April 29, the cheers will be from those urging on their adopted little rubber ducks racing down Andre Brook in the Rotary’s Duck Derby, while expressions of delight will come from the youthful participants in the Y’s Healthy Kids Day array of games and activities.

The collaborative events are taking place for the 10th consecutive year; however, were it not for the persuasive efforts of two Rotarians, a dozen years ago, the shared day may not have happened at all. In 2005, Mimi Godwin brought the Duck Derby idea before the local Rotarians, but received little more than smiles and questions. Godwin was later joined by JoAnne Murray in their successful quest to convince their colleagues that it was a feasible project.

The big breakthrough came when the Tarrytown Fire Department’s Hope Hose and Conqueror Companies, developed a way to stage the Derby in Andre Brook. As Murray described it, “A guillotine was engineered to hold back the water so that the rubber ducks could race with added water power pumped from the fire truck.” The Rotary signaled its approval for the event.

Both Godwin and Murray became living symbols of the Derby when they donned their yellow duck costumes before the first Duck Derby in 2008 to promote the event. They have worn them annually for both promotional purposes and at the Derbies.

The collaboration with the Family’s YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, an existing event, came when the Family Y approached the Rotary Club, proposing that both activities take place at Patriot’s Park on the same day. And so they did.

“A guillotine was engineered to hold back the water so that the rubber ducks could race with added water power pumped from the fire truck.”

This year’s Duck Derby will feature a special 50/50 race in honor of Gerry Barbelet, which also celebrates the Derby’s 10th anniversary. Barbelet, a longtime Tarrytown Treasurer, an honored Rotary member and past president of Tarrytown Fire Department’s Conqueror Hook and Ladder Company # 1, died last year.

During the 50/50 race only 10 ducks, each adopted for $200, will race. Half the proceeds will go to the winner and the remaining half to Hope Hose Co. to help restore an antique 1952 piston pumper fire truck it owns.

Two thousand ducks are up for adoption, with each adopted duck racing in one of six heats. The heat winners receive $100, and participate in the grand final race, competing for a $1,500 prize.

A single duck can be adopted for $10. A “Six Quack” is $50; a “Tub-of-Ducks,” 13 of them, goes for $100. Adoptions are obtainable through the Rotary website, www.tarrytownrotary.org, or by calling Mimi Godwin at (914) 631-0675. Adoptions will also be available between heats at Patriot’s Park.

This year’s Duck Derby will feature a special 50/50 race in honor of Gerry Barbelet, which also celebrates the Derby’s 10th anniversary.

Healthy Kids Day begins at 11 a.m. at Patriot’s Park, and the first of the eight Derby races starts at 11:30 a.m. The Grand Final Race is scheduled for 2:45 p.m.

The YMCA’s varied activities include soccer skills presentations and competitions, Y Dance performances, youth bands and soloists offering the entertainment; rides for tots, and for older children, carnival games and a climbing wall. Girl Scouts will be doing face painting. The purchase of a $10 ride bracelet gives children all-day access to the rides and certain games, but there will be many free activities as well.

There will be, “many informative and craft tables,” YMCA Vice President Barbara Turk notes, “ranging in interest from healthcare to dentists, to insurance, to orthodontists, to nutrition, to Philipsburg Manor, and a realm of non-profit organizations.” Healthy appetites will be satisfied by a diverse group of food vendors scheduled to be at the park.

Phelps Memorial Hospital is the Y’s Presenting Sponsor, with Stop & Shop and MVP Healthcare aboard as Event Sponsors, along with EF School International and Kohl’s as Ride Sponsors.

Providing assistance for the Rotary’s Duck Derby are Presenting Sponsors Phelps Hospital, and Open Door. Its Gold Sponsors are Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Sam’s Club and The Hudson Independent. Included among its Silver Sponsors are Tarrytown Honda, On Track, and Allan Block Insurance. Bronze Sponsors include DoubleTree, Marriott, Eileen Fisher, Atlantic Copy Machines, Antonio Cabinetry, Kendal on Hudson, Joseph Goscilo DDS, Harold Gross Financial, and Legends William Raveis.

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