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Tarrytown Rotary’s Derby & Family YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day Judged As Winners

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June 13, 2023

By Robert Kimmel–

 Under sunny skies and the lure of fun and excitement, the re-scheduled Rotary’s Duck Derby and the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day drew large numbers of people to the park and was deemed a success.

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Family YMCA’s rides, games and entertainment drew many onlookers. The Rotary’s Duck Derby had 2,172 adopted ducks participating in a series of six preliminary heats leading up to a final race that had the heat winners vying for top honors. “That is the largest number we’ve had in a Derby over the 16 years of its existence,” stated Rotarian JoAnne Murray, a major organizer of the Derby.

 A prize of $1,500 went to the lucky victor in the final race down Andres Brook, and each leading duck in the preliminary heats won $100, with runners-up receiving a ticket to Legoland NY. The Derby serves as the Rotary’s major fund-raising event of the year. Murray expressed satisfaction that there would be ample funding for the local scholarships presented annually by the Club as well as for the many donations it makes to non-profit community organizations.

“Over 500 children enjoyed Y rides, arts and crafts, and face painting and once again the Y hosted residents from Abbott House in Irvington,” explained Lesa Dalton, the Tarrytown Y’s Associate Executive Director. “Fourteen children got to put a little play in their day which always makes the Y happy!” she added. Dalton mentioned that “Families who visited our participating vendors got their event map stamped and then were able to return to the Y table for a Prize. The Y Cheer and Dance group performed on the stage and got the crowd engaged.”

“Our Food vendors were terrific,” Dalton stated, and noted that the Tarrytown Fire Department’s Hope & Conqueror BBQ was among them.

Fans cheer on their ducks on Andre’s Brook (Photo by Margaret Fox)

Originally scheduled in April, the event succumbed to foul weather and was postponed until this month. June’s warmer temperatures caused one modification to a traditional activity. Traditionally, Rotarians Murray, and Mimi Godwin, who originally hatched the Derby concept, each wear hefty duck costumes throughout the event. Children and eager adults clamor to pose for photos with the two big birds. Faced with rising temperatures however, Murray and Godwin were forced to “moult” halfway through Sunday’s events.

The warmer weather did little to dampen the appetites of scores of people who indulged in the food presented by several vendors. The YMCA’s volunteers and Rotary Club members continued their work without interruption.


Kids concentrate on their artwork on Healthy Kids Day (photo by Margaret Fox)

As it has since the very first Derby attracted scores of people to the banks of Andres Brook, members of the Tarrytown Fire Department steadfastly used their hoses and devices to keep the water flowing forcefully enough to keep the ducks moving downstream. The competition behind them, the ducks are now safely packed away in storage awaiting next year’s Derby.

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