The Rotary Club of Kirkland will host its 11th annual Great Puget Sound Duck Race at 4 p.m. on July 4 at the Juanita Beach Park.
The annual July 4 celebrations in Kirkland go all day with a parade at noon following a kids parade. The celebration then moves to Juanita Beach Park in the afternoon for the Community Picnic sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kirkland. The picnic includes games for children, live music for adults, refreshments and the duck race, which is the Kirkland Rotary’s main fundraiser for the year and supports mostly local community projects such as the Miracle League (a baseball league for disabled young people), a “Warm Coats” program in early winter for children in need and a reading program for elementary children.
Money from the duck races also go to community projects. In 2005 Rotary built the picnic pavilion at Everest Park. This year its constructing the arbor behind the newly remodeled Heritage Hall in downtown Kirkland. The duck race is also a community project in itself with six other nonprofit organizations partnering with the Rotary to raise funds for their own projects.
The Duck Race is really a raffle. “Duck Adoptions” are sold to the community. A “Branding Party” was held at the Lee Johnson Chevrolet-Mazda the evening of June 30 with water proof numbers attached to the bottom of about 15,000 little rubber ducks.
Before the actual “race” on the fourth, the ducks are “coralled” by large oil containment booms all day, then at 4 p.m. the race course is opened and the ducks float to the end of a 400-yard race course with the prompting of water from Kirkland Fire Department fire hoses, large fans and portable leaf blowers.
The first rubber ducky through a shoot that allows only one duck at a time is the winner. This year the lucky adoptive parent of the winning duck will receive a new Chevy Aveo from the Lee Johnson dealership. The next 20 duck owners also win prizes.