The top three winners of the 10th annual Duck Derby race were: first place, Donnie Varvel, 2011 Honda Fit courtesy of Honda Carland North; second place, Sandra O'Neal, $1,000 from Parnick Jennings Funeral Home and The York Children's Foundation; and third place, Paul Battles, 36-inch LCD television from Fleetwood Security and Electronic Services.
"We sold all 20,000 ducks that we had on hand and ran out," said Advocates Executive Director Patty Eagar. "Because of the week-long threat of bad weather over the weekend, the fact that many people turned out to have been 'hoarding' ducks and not turning them in, and because the community was understandably focused on helping our neighbors who had lost everything in the tornado, we were not expecting such a good turnout this year. But the skies cleared, literally and figuratively. The weather turned out perfect once again. The crowds came out Friday night to enjoy the evening, concert, the Cornhole tournament, Eastern Seaboard's concert and a celebration of children who need us all so much.
"Saturday was the same way -- it stayed dry and cloudy skies kept it wonderfully cool for the 5K Duck Dash and Fun Run, though the forecast kept many at home. That day turned out perfect also. Thousands lined the banks of the Etowah and filled Riverside Park for a terrific day, enjoying the terrific variety of entertainment and vendors, and cheering on our ducks to the finish line -- and then scooping them out. It is a massive labor of love. When the feathers settle, I hope that the weekend's events will net $75,000 or more for Advocates."
Since about 55 percent of Advocates' annual $1.4 million budget currently is raised by the local community, the Duck Derby's success is integral to its operations. Located in Cartersville, the nonprofit assists about 2,500 area youth each year through the Flowering Branch Children's Center and providing services that aid in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
"We are so grateful for our [Duck Derby X: A] Decade of Ducks," Eagar said. "Event chairs Tina Jennings and Jessica Fleetwood did a wonderful job for many months with lots of tireless committee members and duck sellers. This community has once again shown that we all care desperately about children, about the serious job of preventing child abuse, and about how we can all pitch in to help those who are already its victims. It is an honor to get to do this kind of work in this wonderful place."
A complete list of the derby races' prize winners is available at Advocates for Children's website, www.advochild.org.