Every summer, tens of thousands of yellow ducks splash into the Chicago River in a lip-biting race to the finish line to raise money for Special Olympics. Thousands of Chicagoans flock to the downtown area to watch the spectacle with many adopting a duck or five in the hope of winning big and supporting the Special Olympics in the process.
In 2020 the Ducky Derby took place on the unchartered waters of the internet due to the Covid-19 pandemic and last year it went ahead in person once again but with due diligence considering the remaining health measures at the time. This year, on Thursday, August 4th, it will once again return to times of old with anybody and everybody invited to gather around Columbus Drive Bridge and watch the ducks plunge into the river.
Each year the event raises upwards of $300,000 for over 20,000 athletes and more than 10,000 young athletes. Last year over 75,000 ducks were adopted, the highest amount of money raised in the tradition’s 17 years. At the time of writing just under 20,000 ducks have been adopted, so far raising $87,489 which is 26% adopted of a 75,000 goal.
Hopefuls can adopt a Lone Duck for $5 each or go big with a Quack Pack of six ducks for $25! Meanwhile, a Flock of Ducks (24 ducks) costs $100.00, and a Diamond Duck Pack of 240 costs $1,000.00
This year there will again be a family festival at 401 N Michigan Ave from 10 am until 12:30 pm featuring free activities and live music from The Boy Band Night before the Splashdown at Columbus Bridge commences at 1 pm.
The race duration depends on how quickly the rubber ducks move down the river. In all cases, winners are contacted directly after the race via phone. The event will be broadcasted live on FOX32 for those who can’t make it.
What are the prizes, you ask? The grand prize winner will win a 2022 Chevy Equinox while the second prize is a cruise provided by Royal Caribbean, the third prize wins $2,500 and the fourth place will be given four tickets to go to the Windy City Smokeout held at the United Center ($739.80 value).
For anybody with environmental concerns, all ducks are collected by volunteers and staff at the end of the race and reused every year.
Want to plunge into the action? Adopt a duck here!
[Featured image from Shutterstock]