'It's very exciting'
Urged along by a high-pressure hose, a sea of 8,500 yellow rubber ducks made their way from one end of a water reservoir to the other in Korpela Park Sept. 29.
Finlandia Village executive director David Munch stood at the far side of the water body, waiting to pick up the first three rubber ducks to cross the finish line.
This year, the Lucky Duck Dash benefits Finlandia's Sisu campaign, which is attempting to raise $3 million for the organization's new assisted living facility.
“It's very exciting,” Munch said. “It's the first time we've done the Lucky Duck Dash. The Rotary Club was the one that used to do it in prior years. We're very fortunate that they lent us the ducks. We've adopted the ducks as Finlandia's
The Lucky Duck Dash event ended up raising about $20,000 for the organization. Even without these funds, Sisu had already raised about $2.5 million.
In the end, Sue Gray's duck was the first to cross the finish line, earning her $10,000. Lillian Maenpaa's duck came in second, earning her $2,000, and Ken Peake's was third, earning him $1,000. None of the winners appeared to be immediately on hand to pick up their prizes.
While the duck race was the main event, members of the public also took in tours of the new assisted living facility, music, a barbecue and a homemade pulla (Finnish bread) sale.
Norma Rautianen-Kent, one of Finlandia's board members, said she thought the fundraiser was successful.
“It was great,” she said. “It didn't rain, so that was good. There were a lot of tickets sold and ducks sold, so that was really, really exciting. The wind was not necessarily in our favour, but we had the waterworks happening, so that was great. It was a lot of fun, and it was an enjoyable time.”
Becky Power attended the event with her husband, Bob, and daughters Delanie, 11, and Gracie, 9. Although the family didn't go home with any cash, they said they still enjoyed themselves.
“I thought it was good family fun,” Becky said. “It was a good afternoon.”