Duck Derby: Ducks of the Etowah sets sail Saturday
by Marie Nesmith
May 14, 2013 | 1896 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Like 2012’s Duck Derby, this year’s benefit on Saturday will be Advocates for Children’s largest annual fundraiser. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
Like 2012’s Duck Derby, this year’s benefit on Saturday will be Advocates for Children’s largest annual fundraiser. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
With the 12th annual Duck Derby Festival: Ducks of the Etowah set for Saturday, Advocates for Children is encouraging area residents to participate in its largest fundraiser of the year. Supporters of the Cartersville nonprofit have less than one week to “adopt” artificial ducks to race down the Etowah River.

“Just like with the lottery, when it gets close to the end, that’s when people buy most of their lottery tickets and it’s no different with the ducks,” said Advocates Executive Director Patty Eagar, adding her nonprofit's fundraising goal is to sell 20,000 ducks. “We tend to sell [8,000] or 10,000 ducks in the last week, and we hope we’ll do that again this week.

“We hope that there’s some people out there who haven’t turned any in yet. They’ve just been selling them and saving them and [now] it’s time to get those turned in.”

While supplies last, ducks can be obtained for $5 each at area businesses, online at and during the Duck Derby festivities, which start at 10 a.m. Online sales will conclude Friday at 3 p.m.

Sporting a pirate theme, Advocates’ Duck Derby will feature thousands of rubber ducks racing for prizes at the Riverside Day Use Area in Cartersville at 2:30 p.m. In addition to supporting Advocates, adopters will be eligible for various prizes, some of which will include a 2013 Honda Fit from Honda Carland North, a $1,000 shopping venture at West End Commons, two kayaks and an iPad.

Since more than 50 percent of Advocates’ annual $1.7 million budget is raised by the local community, events like the Duck Derby are integral to the nonprofit’s success. Each year, Advocates serves about 2,600 area youth through the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter and providing services that assist in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.

“[The Duck Derby] is a wonderful way of raising awareness of what Advocates does for 2,600 kids and their families every year,” Eagar said. “Just knowing that somebody put $5 on every single one of those little yellow ducks is truely heartwarming for us to know that people care. They want to win the prizes but they also want to support the kids.

“So it’s a big deal for us. It raises some money for us — not probably as much of our budget as people might think — but it definitely raises awareness of child abuse and the services that we offer. It makes people decide that they want to volunteer. So it’s all over a good fundraiser and fun-raiser.”

Along with adopting a duck and attending Saturday’s race, there are two other Duck Derby events that the public can partake in. They include the Pre-Derby Concert featuring The Backwater Band Friday at 6 p.m. at Riverside Day Use Area; and a Duck Dash and Fun Run at Cartersville Primary School Saturday morning. Duck Derby activities, which also will include entertainment, food and games, on Saturday will occur from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year’s Duck Dash and Fun Run will be a part of the Chick-fil-A Connect Race Series. With registration beginning at 7 a.m., the 5K/10K run/walk and the 1 mile fun run/walk will depart at 8 and 9:30 a.m., respectively.

The Peachtree Road Race qualifier also will feature a Family FunZone for youth 12 and younger. The cost to enter prior to the event is $25 per individual for the 5K and 1-mile run/walk and $30 for the 10K. Entry fees will increase $5 on the day of the race.

“We learned about Connect Ministries and they are an organization that has put on the Chick-fil-A race series now for several years,” said Kayleigh Ladshaw, development assistant for Advocates. “We heard about them through a board member and we decided that we wanted to connect with them hoping that it would build a larger amount of runners to come and race this year.

“They are wonderful in that they do most of the planning for the event, but it’s our job to provide sponsorship, obviously promote it for runners and find volunteers. So we [connected] with them this year and we have already got many, many more pre-registered runners than we’ve ever had in the past — over 200 runners. And we’re expecting at least 500, which is about triple what we usually have. So partnering with Chick-fil-A and partnering with Connect Ministries has made it much bigger, much more organized and it seems like it will be a big community event that morning.”

For more information about Advocates and its Duck Derby-related events, call 770-387-1143 or visit To register for the Duck Dash and Fun Run, visit