Tim Cox, left, and Columbus-Lowndes Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Kathy Arinder help “tag” thousands of rubber ducks Thursday at the Habitat facility. Volunteers are prepping for the June 14 Great Tombigbee Duck Race at the Riverwalk. Their feathered friend is 11-year-old Sam Hannon, son of Scott and Mandy Hannon of Columbus. Cox is a former CLHFH board president. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
June 7, 2014 11:03:03 PM
In just a few days, an enormous flock of ducks will hit the water at the Columbus Riverwalk. But these benign birds are of the rubber duck variety, and in town for a worthy cause.
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Columbus-Lowndes Habitat for Humanity presents The Great Tombigbee Duck Race Saturday, June 14. Up to 5,000 "adopted" yellow ducks will take the plunge off the Old Highway 82 Bridge (island bridge) at 4:30 p.m., and the race will be on. Each duck will swim with a unique number on its underside, which will match that duck's adoption papers. Ducks may be adopted for $5 each or $25 for a six-duck Quack Pack (one free duck). Or, get a Super Pack of 25 ducks (five free ducks) for a $100 donation.
The first duck to reach the finish earns its donor a prize of $3,000. Second place wins $1,500; a lame duck prize of $500 will also be awarded.
The race is a major fundraiser for the nonprofit agency that works year-round to eliminate sub-standard housing in Lowndes County one family at a time.
"Five dollars may not seem like much, but when you put them all together, we can almost build a house," said Kathy Arinder, executive director of CLHFH.
Singing on the River
Afternoon festivities begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, prior to the race.
"We have so many talents to be found in our local churches, and we want to share these talents with the community with Singing on the River," said Arinder.
A live music lineup includes The Gospel Night Crawlers, The Point praise band, Shiloh Full Gospel MB Church Choir, First United Methodist Church praise band and Armando Adams. Food and drink vendors will be on site. The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets, but is asked to leave personal coolers at home.
"This will be a wonderful opportunity to come out for a good time, and to come see what Habitat for Humanity is all about," urged Arinder.
Based on past events, the director estimates ducks will take about 45 minutes to reach the finish line, an oil boom stretched across the water. The process of determining all winners and gathering ducks to the bank then takes place. As of press time, Arinder expects winners to be announced at or near the conclusion of musical entertainment, probably near 7:30 to 8 p.m. Winners do not have to be present to win.
Get your ducks
A maximum of 5,000 ducks will be available for adoption.
"We hope to have all our ducks sold by Friday," Arinder said. "Sales always really pick up the last week, and we want to make sure everybody gets one; they just need to get it done as quickly as possible." Ducks will only be available for adoption at the Riverwalk Saturday if unsold quantities remain.
Get ducks online at tombigbeeduckrace.com. Mail-in forms, available at many businesses, must be received no later than Friday at 5 p.m. For additional information, contact "Duck Central" at 662-386-3825.
Learn more about CLHFH at columbushabitat.org, or call the agency's office, 662-329-2501.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.