Pemaquid Watershed Association’s (PWA) 11th Annual Rubber Ducky River Race on July 4 began with a stellar Pace Ducky performance by PWA’s 4-ft foam ducky, Pemaquacky, expertly guided by kayaker Matt Lutkus. Then, at around 4:00 p.m. 607 rubber ducky contestants were dumped into the Damariscotta River upriver of the Damariscotta-Newcastle bridge. The gaggle, apparently glad to be back in the water after a year off, took their leisurely time swimming about in a tight group for several minutes after the launch. Then, to the great relief of race originator and Chief Quack Peter Lawrence on the launch boat, the duckies caught the rip-roaring current and like a yellow flash, swam fast and furious past the finish line. The winning ducky number, 385, was held by Chris Nelson, who received the first place prize of $100 made possible by race sponsor, Yellowfront Grocery.

Beyond the grand prize of $100, the next 9 to cross the finish line received prizes thanks to Midcoast Kayak, William H. Brewer, C.P.A., Schooner Landing, Mediterranean Kitchen, Salt Bay Café, Best Thai, Lucky Fortune Chinese Restaurant, Bear and the Bea Ice Cream Shop, and S. Fernald’s Country Store. Prize winners were #281 Debby Kane, #18 Pat Gabriel, #70 Toni Crouch, #205 Tucker Kelley, #296 Emily Nelson, #348 Mike Hagen, #223 Mark Lazzari, #512 Kristen Elizabeth Widmaier, and #535 Meredith Harris.

There was some fishy business with the Pokey Ducky last place finisher. After all other duckies had made their way downriver, one ducky lingered suspiciously at the launch site and was then spotted heading upriver by a race goer with binoculars. As the race goer kept eyes on this renegade, PWA’s Ducky Wrangler Crew, which was busy scooping the finishers, was notified. But before PWA’s kayaker could get back to the launch site, the stray ducky absconded with an unidentified couple passing by in a canoe. It is speculated that this incident was the result of an elaborate escape plan masterminded by the subversive organization, “Free All Duckies”. As a consequence, the Pokey Ducky prize of a chocolate ducky went instead to Atticus Donaghy, whose pirate ducky #608 was the last to actually cross the finish line. An APDB (All Points Ducky Bulletin) has been issued for the escaped ducky.

PWA thanks Yellowfront Grocery for sponsoring this fun-raising fundraiser, the businesses that kindly donated the prizes, all the volunteers who helped with the event, Jan Marie Bacon for the music, and all who sponsored a ducky. Pemaquid Watershed Association is a volunteer-based non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve the natural resources of the Pemaquid Peninsula through land and water stewardship and education. PWA sustains its work through annual fundraisers such as this one and through membership contributions.

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