Arts and Entertainment

Silverdale marks 17th Great Kitsap Duck Race, 38th Whaling Days

The Great Kitsap Duck Race is Sunday, July 25, in Silverdale. - File photo
The Great Kitsap Duck Race is Sunday, July 25, in Silverdale.
— image credit: File photo

An oyster boat will spill more than than 10,000 rubber ducks into Dyes Inlet during the 17th annual Great Kitsap Duck Race.

The race begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 25, and is held alongside Silverdale’s Whaling Days festival, which begins Friday, July 23.

Before the ducks are released into the water, each is assigned a number. A ticket with a matching number is sold as a “sponsorship.” Members of the public can sponsor a duck for $5. Once released, the ducks begin their 200-foot float race to the shore.

The sponsors of the first 30 ducks to cross the finish line will earn prizes; first place wins a 2010 Nissan Frontier.

The Silverdale Rotary Club holds the duck race to raise funds for the Hospice of Kitsap County and student scholarships.

Brian Beagle, who has been involved with the Rotary Club for more than 20 years, said the race is one of the club’s most successful fundraisers.

“It’s a great community event for a great cause,” Beagle said.

The duck race is not sponsored by the same organization as Whaling Days, but the combination of events helps draw a larger crowd, Beagle said.

Whaling Days is organized by a committee of volunteers. Whaling Days President Carla Larson said financial contraints brought on by a smaller pool of donations won’t damper the party.

Many businesses donated smaller amounts than in previous years, while some were not able to donate at all.

“(Businesses) can’t give funds if they aren’t receiving them,” Larson said.

Fewer donations create more last-minute planning, as organizers were waiting for funding to see which events would be included.

The 38th annual Whaling Days will kick off with food vendors, the beer garden and Friday night fireworks.

Larson expects the turnout this year to be larger than previous years. Bringing the community together, she said, is one of the joys of the event.

“I would like to draw more people who have moved away from the area to come back and see old friends,” Larson said.

The duck race was also hit with economic hardship, but that didn’t discourage Rotarians from hawking ducks to raise funds. Silverdale Rotary Club Secretary Barbara Beagle, who helms the duck race, said it was a hard sell, but Rotarians were not deterred.

“The smaller businesses have been reducing their funds or dropping out,” Beagle said.

Rotarians remained motivated because the money raised recycles back to the community through service projects and scholarships.

“There’s a lot of civic pride that goes into events like this,” Beagle said. “When you look into the faces of the people you are helping, they are so grateful; and that’s why we do it.”

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