Happy with proceeds from the first duck race they co-hosted last year, the United Way of Milford and the Woodruff Family YMCA will host their second annual Milford Harbor Duck Race on Saturday, June 1.
The United Way and YMCA took over the duck race from the city’s Catholic schools and ran their first one in 2018.
The race started in 2008, organized by Catholic Elementary Schools to raise money for the three Catholic schools then located in Milford: St. Gabriel School, St. Ann School and St. Mary School.
St. Ann School closed in 2010, and then St. Gabriel School closed in 2016, at which point the organizers canceled the race.
The United Way and YMCA then negotiated to buy the 10,000 rubber ducks and related paraphernalia to restart the event as a fundraiser for their organizations. The race, which sees all the miniature yellow ducks dumped into the Wepawaug River to "race" to a finish line, had been very popular, and reportedly raised about $50,000 the last year the schools ran it.
The new organizers said they expected to have to work up to the success the schools achieved. So while they didn’t raise $50,000 their first time, they were happy with funds brought in, and they were happy with the turnout and the overall feel of the event.
“We raised about $28,000 last year,” said Gary Johnson, president of the United Way of Milford, explaining that was the total amount, meaning it was split between the United Way and YMCA. “It’s definitely a good fit. Very labor intensive but worth doing. We will keep it going.”
The United Way uses the funds to help the Milford non-profits it supports, like Good Shepherd Child Care, the senior center, and the Boys & Girls Club. The YMCA uses the funds to support programs and to provide scholarships for its after-school and other programs.
The event will start at 11 a.m. at Fowler Field, and there will be a number of activities in the area to augment the main attraction.
“We have new and exciting features planned for this year’s race, including a kids’ activities area, face painting by Nicole, live entertainment by Lights Camera DJs, food trucks, vendors, followed by the duck race at 12:30 p.m. where up to 10,000 rubber ducks will be dropped into the Wepawaug River for a race to the finish line,” Johnson said.
People can already “adopt” their ducks online at milfordduckrace.com, at a cost of $5 a duck.
They don’t get to keep the toy duck, but if their assigned duck crosses the finish line ahead of others, the purchaser can win one of more than 73 prizes. Prizes include a YMCA one-year family membership, X Box One, 42-inch Samsung TV, Apple iPad Mini & Apple Air Pods and 68 smaller prizes.
The United Way and YMCA are accepting sponsors, which can be an individual, a family, a company, agency or club.
For more information, visit milfordduckrace.com, call 203-874-6791, or go to facebook.com/milfordduckrace.