Annual duck race a fundraiser and funraiser

August 28, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • D. J. Fraley, son of Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. Chief David Fraley, helps the plastic ducks stay out of harm's way and keeps them floating down the Antietam Creek in Funkstown Saturday afternoon during the annual duck race.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

FUNKSTOWN -- It's an event that makes a splash each year in Funkstown.

People line the banks of Antietam Creek, wait for the horn to sound and cheer as more than 1,000 plastic ducks are dumped into the water from a bridge on Frederick Street.

That was the case Saturday, when the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. sponsored its annual duck race.

The event is a major fundraiser for the organization and a popular community event.

"It's definitely more fun than most fundraisers," said Larry Iseminger, first vice president of the fire company.

About 1,250 small numbered toy ducks were sold, either at $5 each or seven for $25, he said.

Organizers hope to raise about $3,000.

Iseminger said the money will be used for equipment and other expenses.

With the blaring of the fire company's siren, the race got under way at 2 p.m., when two large bags of colorful ducks took a vertical plunge into the water.


Volunteers, some in canoes, others knee-deep in the creek, used paddles and fishing nets to spread the ducks out and keep them moving.

Spectators began gathering along the water's edge a half-hour before the start of the event, hoping to find a good spot to follow the progress of the race.

The finish line was just downstream from the historic stone bridge behind the fire station.

Cindy Lucas, who lives three blocks from the race site, said she recently had won seven ducks at a bingo raffle. She was hoping at least one of them would be a winner.

"But if I don't win, that's OK," she said. "It's for a good cause."

Claiming this year's $300 grand prize was Avis Bean of Hagerstown, whose duck outraced the others and came in first.

Iseminger said prizes were awarded to the first 30 ducks to cross the finish line.

The fire department provided the cash prizes, while gift certificates and merchandise were donated by the community.

The event also included a grocery raffle and a chicken barbecue.

Following the race, Iseminger said volunteers would be in the water retrieving the plastic ducks for next year's race.

"When we first started the race about 14 years ago, the ducks were 98 cents a dozen," he said. "Today, a dozen will cost you $7.95."

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