Approximately 2,000 small, yellow ducks “raced” down the Appomattox River on Friday, June 1, as part of the first “Live at Riverside” as the United Way of Prince Edward County’s much ballyhooed and once-delayed Great Duck Derby finally took place.
The Great Farmville Duck Derby was originally scheduled to be held early May as part of the Heart of Virginia Festival but fear of a thunderstorm that did not materialize prompted the change of date. The event finished up an hour before a thunderstorm came through. Live at Riverside is presented by the Farmville Jaycees and was formerly known as First Fridays.
The winners have already been notified, with owner of the first place duck receiving $1,000; the second-place duck, $500; and the third-place duck, $250.
The first duck crossed the finish line in six minutes, the last in about 30 minutes.
“They were fast movers,” said Lonnie Calhoun, vice president of the United Way’s all-volunteer board.
The owner of the last place duck will get $25.
The ducks were released behind One Mill Street and a viewing party was held at The Virginia Wine Tasting Cellar.
There were a few glitches: the line of water noodles ran across the river was too short so some ducks ended up going around, and the water was so high the other ducks just slipped under – leading to some United Way board members wading into the river fully clothed to help catch the ducks. But it’s all being chalked up as a lesson for next year.
About 50 ducks “got past us,” said Board Member Sandy Cooke, who was in a skirt as she went in the water.
Noted Board Member Bruce Davis, who proposed the race, and also went in the water along with fellow board member Rhonda Arnold, “The noodle idea was good but the current was so strong it kept sucking them under … (Next time) we just have to know the water conditions.”
“The water was fast; it might have been too fast.
Sponsors were: Donald Duck Sponsors — Appomattox River Company and Holman Masonry, Inc.; Daisy Duck Sponsor is Southside Electric; Huey Duck Sponsors — Green Properties, The Woodland, and Fishin’ Pig; Dewey Duck Sponsors — Hometown Realty, Real Living Cornerstone, VFW Post 7059, and VFW Post 7059 Auxiliary.
This is the first year of the race, and The United Way is optimistic it will become their signature project.
The United Way has surpassed its goal of raising $55,000 to distribute to its 20 local partners. The second allocations to its partners will be noon on Wednesday, June 20, in the first floor Conference Room at Centra Southside Community Hospital.
The United Way’s partners are: Farmville Area Community Emergency Services (FACES), Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity, Heart of Virginia Free Clinic, Farmville Service Unit Girl Scouts, Farmville Area Boy Scout Service Organization, Madeline’s House/Southside Center for Violence Prevention, Prince Edward County 4-H Clubs, Prince Edward/Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA), Scope/Meals on Wheels, Southside Virginia Family YMCA, Southside Pregnancy Center, Southside SPCA, Southside Training, Employment and Placement Services, Inc. (STEPS), Virginia Legal Aid Society, Camp Loud & Clear, Heartland Horse Heroes, Riding Star 4-H equestrian club, Jolly Glee Seniors, Piedmont Senior Resources, and the Virginia Children’s Book Festival.