Tarrytown Y’s Healthy Kids Day, Rotary’s Duck Derby Offer Fun and Excitement 

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by Robert Kimmel – 

Combining the Family YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day and the Rotary of the Tarrytowns’ Duck Derby is a recipe for a day of fun, excitement, and learning for both youngsters and adults. That day, which is becoming a local tradition, takes place for the 11th consecutive year on Saturday April 28, at Patriot’s Park.

Music by Y Dance, performed with a DJ on the western bridge over Andre Brook, kicks off the eventful day at 11 a.m. Just 15 minutes later, a cluster of little yellow rubber ducks splash into the brook off the eastern bridge to begin the first Derby race. For the next four hours activities never cease. The Family Y will provide live music heard throughout those hours at Patriot’s Park.

Six Derby races follow at intervals, including the grand final race in which the winners of five of the preliminary races compete for a grand prize. Each of those winners receive $100. The grand prize, $1,500, goes to the person who has “adopted” the winning duck in the final.

The adoption cost for a single duck is $10. A “Six-Quack” is $50, and you can get 13 ducks, a “Tub-O-Ducks,” for $100. Ducks can be adopted during the Derby or in advance on the Rotary website at www.

The Derby this year is paying tribute to two groups. “We are excited about celebrating ‘Women in Rotary 30 years,’ and, in addition, who better to honor than the Tarrytown Sleepy Hollow Girl Scouts who have been helping at all our Derbies,” said JoAnne Murray, one of the Derby’s earlier organizers.

Murray noted that there will be a special Girl Scout Derby race whose winner “will be the recipient of 50 percent of the 50/50 money we raise from that race.” That winner will not be entered in the final race. Duck adoptions for that special race cost $30.

Murray and another Rotarian Mimi Godwin, who initially urged the local Rotarians to establish the Derbies, are easily spotted, wearing bulky costumes to appear as large yellow ducks, as they have during all of the previous years’ races.

A local resident, Miriam Frandsen “was one of the first women who lobbied for women to join
Rotary,” according to
Murray. “At that time,
Miriam was a member of the Tarrytown’s Inner Wheel Club, and women could only participate as an Inner Wheel Rotarian. While
Rotary International voted to allow women in 1987, the charters were not all changed right away,” Murray stated.

“The Girl Scouts first started helping us in 2011,” said Margaret Black, a Rotarian who has coordinated the activities of the Scouts at the Derbies. “It started with them scooping up ducks at the end of each race. Over the years, this has grown into an annual tradition for the Girls Scouts,” Black noted. “Our club loves having the Girl Scouts at our event and relies on them to keep children from plucking ducks from the stream as each race takes place. They do a terrific job for us and help make our day a success.” Black mentioned that the co-leaders of the Girl Scouts of the Tarrytown’s, Jaime Echt and Evelyn Poy, were “happy to help us out.”

“It is quite a prized job for the girls to work at the Duck Derby,” Echt said. She is a past service unit manager for the local troops which number about 150 girls in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. “The Scouts get a special badge to acknowledge their work at the Derby, sort of a rite of passage for the senior group whom we allow to work at the Derby,” Echt said.

As part of the YMCA at Tarrytown’s Healthy Kids Day, Westchester Circus Arts will be performing, as well as offering attendees trial opportunities on their circus trapeze in the park’s basketball court. New York’s Red Bulls will  be bringing some players and working on soccer techniques with kids on the green.

EF students will lead the carnival games for the Y, explained Barbara Turk, the Y’s Vice President/Marketing and Community Development. Staff from Historic Hudson Valley’s Philipsburg Manor will be in period clothing conducting arts lessons with the kids. TaSH, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Farmers Market, will have a table and involve the children in a nutrition-related arts project.

Y board members and senior staff will be in a tiki bar giving away popcorn, leis and other goodies to kids who complete the tour of all the vendor tables throughout the day. There will also be a variety of food stalls in the park to help satisfy appetites.

Celebrated at hundreds of Ys across the country, Healthy Kids Day’s purpose is to keep children moving and learning, and keep those activities going throughout the months and years ahead.

During the day’s Derby races, Tarrytown’s Hope Hose firetruck will be parked on North Broadway to provide the forceful water flow used to help the ducks move speedily down Andre Brook.

Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health and Open Door Family Medical Centers are the Rotary/Y Healthy Kids Day presenting sponsors. Stop & Shop is the Y’s Platinum Sponsor, and Ride Sponsors  are EF School, 911 Sleepy Hollow Orthodontics, and MVP Healthcare.

The   Rotary’s Gold sponsors are Tarrytown Honda, RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Sam’s Club, Margaret Fox Photography, and The Hudson Independent. Silver sponsors include the Allan M. Block Agency, Eileen Fisher Foundation, and Snap Fitness Center. Bronze sponsors are CPG Creative Planners Group,  DoubleTree Hotel, Atlantic tomorowoffice.com, Janney Trusted Advisors, Joseph Goscilo, DDS, Kendal on Hudson, Antonio Cabinets and Marriott, Westchester.

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