Duck Derby kicks off with largest group
by Amanda Stegall
Mar 25, 2011 | 3833 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mary Elizabeth Sprague holds her son, Louie, as he goes after a few ducks for himself at the Duck Derby kickoff.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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While driving down Main Street Thursday night, it was difficult to miss the large duck balloon marking the location of the Advocates for Children's Duck Central. In preparation for this year's Duck Derby, the organization has acquired the space of 107 W. Main St., where Write on Main was previously housed.

"We are here to give an important message that the recession in Bartow County is over," exclaimed Patty Eager, executive director for Advocates. "This is the largest group we've had."

This year's goal is to have 30,000 ducks racing down the Etowah River at the Riverside Day Use Area in Cartersville.

All profits go directly to the Advocates group, which services about 2,500 area youth each year through the Flowering Branch Children's Center and provides services that assist in awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse. Nearly 50 percent of Advocates' annual $1.4 million budget consists of local community donations. The Duck Derby's success is a key element to Advocates' operations.

2011 marks the 10th year the Derby has been a part of the Bartow community and a celebration of A Decade of Ducks is now underway with a superhero theme. Event mascot Quacky can now be seen with a cape to represent local heroes who work to help children.

Artificial ducks will be sold over the next six to seven weeks before the main event in May. Anyone may purchase ducks from sales representatives or from the Duck Central location, which is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., for $5 each. Ducks may also be purchased online through the Advocates website at The top prize for the year is a new Honda Fit. Also, anyone interested in volunteering opportunities ranging from working at the Central to appearing as Quacky may contact Brenda Cooper at or 770-655-1565.

Along with the primary duck race other contests are included within the event. A 5K Duck Dash and Fun Run will be held beginning at 8 a.m. at Cartersville Primary School. Registration forms and more details can be found on the Advocates website. In addition, there is a coloring page on the site for children to color and enter into another contest. The school with the most entries will win a prize.

The night before the big day, a live concert by Eastern Seaboard, corn hole tournament and BYO picnics will be held at Riverside Park from 6 to 9 p.m. Tables can be reserved for $100 or attendees may choose lawn seating for free.

Anyone interested in selling ducks may contact Sarah Tonsmeire a, 770-655-2900, or Nicole Hughes at, 404-391-6335. Those working on teams, as well as individuals who want to sell ducks, are encouraged to create challenges among themselves to increase competition and bring more awareness to the Advocates organization and their purpose within the community.

Community members are encouraged to join the Advocates group for the Derby on May 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ducks will hit the water at 2:30.