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Duck Derby & Healthy Kids Day Combine Again This Month

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April 3, 2024

By Robert Kimmel—

A blend of fun, entertainment and excitement await the crowds of youngsters and adults expected to attend the 17th annual combined Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns’ Duck Derby and the Family YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day. The much-anticipated dual event at Patriots Park in Tarrytown is scheduled for Saturday, April 27th.

As in past years, Andre Brook will serve as the “track” on which hundreds of “adopted” small, rubber ducks glide downstream in six preliminary races. The winners compete in the Grand Finale race. The adopter of the victorious entry In the Finale receives a $1,500 prize, while the preliminary race winners each get $100.

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Events at the Park begin at 11:00 a.m. with the initial Derby Race set for approximately 11:15 a.m. The remaining preliminary races follow at about half-hour intervals. The Derby is the major annual fund raiser for the local Rotary, with its revenues returned to the community in the form of student scholarships and grants to non-profit groups supporting local needs.

Adopting a single, yellow ducky to participate in the Derby races costs $10, while a “Six-quack” is $50, and a “Tub-O-Ducks” with 13 potential contestants runs $100.  Adopting the ducks can be done in advance of the event via the Rotary’s website, at https://tarrytownrotary.org/. They will also be adoptable at the Rotary’s booth at the event.

Collaboration between the Rotary event and the Family YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day began in 2008 and has drawn hundreds of enthusiastic participants to each annual event. The Tarrytown Y’s activities play a major part in broadening the day, expressly for the attending youngsters. There will be arts and crafts and Y rides for participation. Music will entertain attendees as will the Y’s Elite All-Stars Cheer and Dance Team with its active endeavors. For its performances, the group of girls, aged 8 to 16, has also won an opportunity to compete in May in the sport of Cheer, in the Nationals at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney, in Orlando, Florida.

“This year we are adding an extra face painting station to meet the demand,” explained the Y’s Associate Executive Director Lesa Dalton. There will be many booths supported by local organizations where their activities will be described. “We are thrilled to have LegoLand, TaSH, Open Door, Furr 911, the Fire Prevention Trailer, Tappan Zee Smiles Kana PT & Wellness and so many others,” Dalton stated.  She also lauded event sponsor, Putnam County Savings Bank, and ride sponsors, Barrier, LLC, Greenfield Plumbing, and FunFlatables.

Appetites will also be satisfied at the event. “Our food vendors are always a hit and we are so grateful,“ Dalton said. Among those vendors are the Tarrytown Fire Department’s Hope Hose Company No.1, (Engine79), and (Ladder 37) BBQ.  Other food vendors include Duck Donuts, Jimmy’s Soft Serve, Crispin Dopamine, Wrappers Delight and Yumbro.

The Y’s event bracelets are required for youngsters two-years-old and up to participate on Y rides, and arts, crafts, face painting and more. They may be purchased for $10 each at its website, | Family YMCA at Tarrytown, or at the Y tent by the Route 9 entrance to the park.

The Rotary’s engagement with the Family YMCA of Tarrytown for the joint event came in 2008 following  persistent, several years of urging by its member, Mimi Godwin.  “I am so happy the community loves the event and gives Rotary support to continue giving scholarships to our students as well as help support many Village organizations,” she recently told The Hudson Independent. Godwin, who was a teacher, had also been both a long-time former President of the Tarrytown School District Board of Education and high school PTA president.

Godwin teams up with JoAnne Murray, currently the Rotary Treasurer and a dedicated community contributor, as the costumed pair of yellow ducks who have been promoting the Derby since its inception.  They make pre-Derby appearances at local events, and roam Patriots Park during the Derby,  guiding youngsters and encouraging event participations.

Also in attendance are members of the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Department, available to aid anyone when required.  Prior to the event, the Village’s Recreational Department tidies up the park and stream.  An imperative assist comes annually from the Tarrytown Volunteer Fire Department’s Hope Hose and Conqueror Companies who maintain a strong current of water running down Andre Brook driving the racing Ducks to the finish line.

Each year, a host of community businesses and organizations have supported the Rotary’s Derby. “Presenting Sponsors” this year are Phelps Hospital-Northwell Health, and Kendal on Hudson. Allan Block Insurance and M&T Bank follow as “Gold Sponsors,” with many more supporters listed on the Rotary’s website.  Should inclement weather cause the events cancellation this month, a tentative “rain date” is set for Saturday, May 5.

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