Duck Derby & Healthy Kids Day Set for 12th Consecutive Year

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by Robert Kimmel – 

Entertainment, children’s rides, food, and health information, along with two big ducks and 2,000 competing little duckies, are all part of the annual Duck Derby, and Healthy Kids Day, scheduled in Patriot’ Park for Saturday, May 4. The varied activities begin at 11 a.m. and last until 3 p.m., and have traditionally drawn hundreds to the park on North Broadway in Tarrytown.

The event marks the 12th consecutive year that the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns’ Duck Derby, and the Family YMCA at Tarrytown’s Healthy Kids Day have joined forces to offer children and grown-ups a fun-filled and exciting experience.

Music heard throughout the park will provide the rhythm for the Y Dance group teamed at times with the Y Troup, youngsters aged seven through their teens. Performances will include break dancing, hip hop, and contemporary lyrical steps. Mini-dance clinics will also be offered.

Along with applause for those performances, cheers and shouts of encouragement will be heard during the day as the little rubber duckies glide down Andre Brook in six race heats and the Grand Final Race which will conclude the Rotary’s Derby Day. If you have adopted a ducky winner of one of the six heats, you’ll receive $100 and also a gift basket valued at that amount, donated by The Hudson Independent. The heat winners compete in the Grand Final Race with the adopted ducky winner of that competition receiving $1,500.

The two big duckies seen strolling through the park have traditionally been an important part of the day, and the two women Rotary members hidden inside the yellow feathered costumes are largely responsible for having organized the initial Derby and maintaining it each year.

Mimi Godwin brought the Duck Derby idea to the local Rotary Club more than a dozen years ago. JoAnne Murray has been instrumental in organizing it annually, and both women have worked with other Rotary members to promote the ducky adoptions, the proceeds of which go “directly back to the community in the form of grants and scholarships,” as described by the Rotary.

“I think that we both are just so pleased that this has become a tradition in the community,” Godwin said. “It is always so special when moms and dads come up to us and tell us how excited their children are to see the ducks again. Many have been seeing us since they were toddlers.”

“It’s the one event that I look forward to every year,” Murray related. “It’s the first outdoor event of the season in the villages, and it’s such a fun event. We thank the YMCA for partnering with us every year and bringing the vendors, food and entertainment for everyone to enjoy while we race the rubber ducks. We could not do this without Hope Hose and Conqueror Fire houses. The firefighters are the real reason this event is so successful. We truly appreciate all they do.”

Tarrytown Fire Department’s Hope Hose and Conqueror Companies keep the water in Andre Brook flowing swiftly downstream during the races by rigging a guillotine to hold back the stream until each race starts and by adding water pumped from the fire truck.

The Rotary Club hopes to raise $12,000 with the 2,000 duckies racing during the day, and $10,000 from the various event sponsors. Ducks can be “adopted” with a credit card at the Rotary Club’s website, www.tarrytownrotary.org, and they will also be available at the park. Adopting a single duck costs $10. A “Six Quack” is $50 and a “Tub-of-Ducks,” 13 of them, costs $100.

For use all day on the various inflatable rides and games taking place as part of the Y’s Healthy Kids Day activities, a $10 bracelet can be purchased. At the Y tent, leis, popcorn and other goodies will be handed out by the Family YMCA’s management and staff. Attendees who want to have their photos taken with Waldo the Great Pyrenees will have that opportunity at the tent, and Princess Leia and Han Solo are also expected to make an appearance.

The Y is getting a helping hand again this year from Education First (EF) students who will be assisting with the carnival games.

Other Healthy Kids Day goings-on include the presence of a library therapy dog and its owner, to promote reading and library events, by the Warner Library. FURR 911 will offer assistance to those considering kitten and cat adoptions, and Fidelis Care will be doing face painting. Relay races in putting on fire fighter gear will be coordinated by the Venture Crew and members of the Tarrytown Fire Department. Interactive knitting activities with both children and adults will be conducted by Y instructor Lori Cohen.

For those aged 19 and over, the Y is extending its special membership promotion through the day. Sign-ups to join can be made at the Y tent and Member Service Desk for a savings of $100.

On hand to offer health related information will be a number of vendors: Urgent Care, Open Door, Rivertown Pediatrics, Tribeca Pediatrics, Tappan Zee Kids Smiles, MVP Healthcare, Pediatrics of Sleepy Hollow, Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health, and Jag Physical Therapy.

Appetites will be satisfied by the presence of assorted purveyors of food, including Tarrytown Hope Hose & Conqueror BBQ, Pappi’s Mediterranean Food Truck, Melt Mobile Food Truck, Jimmy’s Soft Serve and Andy’s Italian Ices/Food Truck.

Sponsorship support of both the Rotary’s Duck Derby and the Y’s Healthy Kids Day make the events possible. The presenting sponsor for the day’s events is Phelps Hospital/ Northwell Health; Stop & Shop is a platinum sponsor. Gold Sponsors are Allan M. Block Agency, Inc., Open Door, Sam’s Club, Kendal on Hudson, and Tompkins Mahopac Bank. Silver sponsors include Tarrytown Honda, Joseph Goscilo DDS, Margaret Fox Photography, Snap Fitness, and The Hudson Independent.

Bronze Sponsors are the Eileen Fisher Foundation, RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen, Creative Planners Group, Atlantic Copy Machines, Tarry Tavern, Antonio Cabinetry, Carr Workplaces, Janney Financial, William Raveis Legends Realty Group, and Coffey Funeral Home. Copper sponsorship: C.A.R.S. Automotive, DoubleTree, AFLAC, Andres Valdespino, Belkind Bigi, Castle Heights Consulting, Coffee Labs, Crushank CPA, JP Doyle, Merrill Lynch, Rich Slingerland, David Cartenuto, and the Tarrytown Teachers Association.

Ride Sponsors include EF School, 911 Sleepy Hollow Orthodontics, 914 Orthodontics and MVP Healthcare.

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