Rotary Duck Race migrating to a new DI waterway
The ducks are moving! The ducks are moving! After 11 years on the Wando River, the 2018 Rotary Charity Duck Race will be conducted at Smythe Lake Park on Friday, June 8, 2018. The race will be presented in conjunction with a Daniel Island Property Owners Association “Sounds of Summer” concert featuring the well-known local band, Plane Jane. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. with the Duck Race run around 6 p.m., followed by the concert at 6:30. Duck Race winners will be announced during intermission of the concert.
The Daniel Island Rotary Club was notified last fall that the Charleston Police Department and South Carolina Department of Transportation would no longer authorize closure of lanes on the James Edwards Bridge. The bridge was used to drop the armada of rubber ducks, 30,000 in all, into the river to start the Duck Race. The rationale was safety risk due to increased traffic on I-526. “This is one of the many impacts of growth that we all see in Charleston,” said George Jucha, Duck Race Chair for the Rotary Club.
Jucha added, “While dropping the rubber ducks off the bridge was a neat visual start of the race, we encountered challenges running the race in the river. These included obtaining unobstructed access to the waterway, limits on when we could hold the event due to tides, and the environmental risk of controlling the ducks on a moving river.”
So the Rotary Club searched for a new location for this annual event that has raised over $1.4 million dollars for local charities and Rotary service programs over the past 11 years.
“We settled on Smythe Park because it has an open waterway, one we can control easily to get the ducks in and out, and good viewing for people to watch the race,” Jucha said.
The ducks will be propelled across the south side of the lake by fire hoses staffed by a crew from the Charleston Fire Department here on Daniel Island. Jucha reported that Rotary and the Fire Department ran a successful test at the lake a few months ago.
“Change can be good to keep things new and fresh,” stated George Roberts, Rotary Club member and Duck Race Chair for 2019. “We’re excited to be combining with the POA’s ‘Sounds of Summer’ concert. It will be a fun evening with the Duck Race and music plus children’s activities and food trucks.”
All other aspects of the event will be as they have in prior years, added Roberts. There will be a $20,000 prize pool for the first flock of lucky ducks to finish the race.
“But the real winners are many charitable causes,” Roberts stated. “Last year, we had around 40 Daniel Island businesses as race sponsors and Daniel Island residents supported this charitable effort very generously.”
Rotary is seeking Daniel Island businesses as sponsors for the 2018 community event. Individuals are invited to adopt ducks in the race, for $10 a duck, from a Rotary Club member or at www.charlestonduckrace.com.