Nearly 300 rubber ducks raced down Branch Creek during the Shippensburg Public Library's fourth annual Duck Derby Saturday, which is held each year in conjunction with the Bloom Festival.
About 50 people came to watch the race on the hot, sunny afternoon in town. Saturday was a busy day in Shippensburg that also featured the chamber of commerce’s annual Bloom Fest, a bagpipe competition at Shippensburg Station and the D.O.I.T. Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest.
The library sold ducks -- one for $5, or six for $20 -- and raised nearly $1,400 toward library operation expenses, like children's programming, as well as the “Completing the Chapter” fundraising campaign to ensure the library becomes debt free following the construction of its 6,000-square-foot addition.
“Number one, it's great for the library because it's about bringing the community together, and bringing the library out into focus about all that is done at the library,” said Board President Betsy Haller. “It's a great activity for the kids and the adults. Doing it in conjunction with the Bloom Fest means that we are supporting them, as much as they are supporting us.”
Brenda Davidson took first place with a prize of $250. Randy Brenize took second place with a prize of $100. Kathryn Hawbaker took third place with a prize of $50.
Haller said in the past, prize winners will typically donate their winnings back to the library. Brenize decided to go with the past trend and donate his prize back to the library. Davidson and Hawbaker were not present during the race to accept their prizes.
People could buy multiple ducks, and one person bought as many as 18 ducks, Haller said.
All of the children who came to watch the race were given complimentary rubber duckie beach balls.
“We were very happy to get the rubber duckie beach ball, so we can blow them up and use them in our pool,” said 7-year-old Tray Varner, who came with his sister, Natalie, and cousin, Abbie. The trio are avid pool goers, and planned to play catch with the beach balls, as well as use them as floaties.
While they didn't have beginner's luck in their first ever derby, they noted the wind and stream were not working in their favor, which caused their ducks to veer into sticks in the stream. If they were to have won, Tray would have spent his winnings on his own Bounce House. Abbie would have spent her winnings on candy, and Natalie would have donated her money to a local animal shelter and St. Jude Children's Hospital.
Brothers Felix Postma, 4, and Louis Postma, 6, were some of the more seasoned derby participants. The pair noted some of the ducks turned upside down during the race. If they would have won, they would have spent the winnings on chocolate.
They added they planned to go home and indulge in some ice cream after enjoying a fun day downtown.