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Flocking to the Rubber Ducky Race

Celebrating a centennial with a duck race

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It was a ducky day in Bayville on Aug. 17 as families gathered for the first-ever Rubber Ducky Race at West Harbor Beach. The child-friendly competition was the third village event to celebrate its 100th year.

Saying hello to several friends, Christine Oddo marveled at the number of people who took part. “I’m proud to be a resident of such an amazing village with such a wonderful energy and people who give back every day,” she said.

Irene McCarty, a member of the 100th Anniversary Committee, said it was the first time that the village held a duck race, but it might not be the last, considering how popular it was.

The ducks were sold for $5 each around the community before the race and at other centennial events. Two thousand ducks were sold. The owners wrote their names on the ducks to claim ownership of them. First place came with a $300 prize; second place, $200; and third place, $100.

Lori Bush and Ali Charon organized the event. They held a practice run earlier in the day to understand better how to deal with the tide, which didn’t always cooperate. Still, the race went off without a hitch.

The stakes were high for youngsters Siena Mannarino and Lena Mcaree, who could hardly contain their excitement. Keeping their eyes fixed on the boat ahead and the black tarp holding the 2,000 bright yellow ducks, they waited for the race to begin.

“I’m going to win, I just know it,” Siena exclaimed.

“When I win, I’m sharing the money with my friends,” Lena responded.

Then the members of the Bayville Fire Department, on hand to drop the ducks in the bay, opened the tarp, and the ducks were off, floating between pool noodles toward the shore. Some ducks wandered off on their own, but the lifeguards corralled them and kept them on course.

The winners were the Santoro Flock, Bob Goosebury Lliebold and Will Yorocki.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to bring residents together, especially children,” Mayor Bob De Natale said, “to share in the centennial celebration. Who would think you could get such a crowd to watch a rubber duck race?”