Photo of Clarice Pollack, sister of Tarrytown Fire Department former, Chief Joe McCarthy for which the Rotary of Tarrytowns 5th Annual Duck Derby was dedicated and Kelly Murphy.
By Suzanne Rothberg
And the race began-- two very cute life-size yellow duck mascots poured hundreds of
little rubber ducky toy ducks into the historic Andre Brook at Patriots Park in Tarrytown on Saturday April 28, for the start of the Fifth Annual Rubber Ducky Derby and YMCA Healthy Kids Day.
The Tarrytown Fire Department worked hard to get their ‘ducks in a row’ as they helped them race towards the finish line by pumping water from the fire trucks. The popular event attracts hundreds of local families and each year it’s expanding.
The Tarrytown Rotary Club raises money for their organization and all funds go back to the community in the form of grants and scholarships.
This year, the derby was dedicated in memory of the late Tarrytown Fire Chief, Joseph F. McCarthy who passed away on November 5, 2011.
Clarice Pollack is the late fire chief Joseph McCarthy’s sister. She said that he was being honored not only because of his commitment to the Tarrytown Fire Department, but he also set up the dam to get the water flowing to make the ducks float downstream.
“It’s a wonderful that Joe is being honored; if he is looking down as us, I’m sure he’s embarrassed by all this attention… He never looked for attention for anything so, he’s probably wondering what all the fuss is about today,” Pollack told Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown News. “I’ve been here every year I’m an associate member of the fire department because my brother was always involved.”
The competition included six qualifying trials and one final race with a grand prize of a $1,000 AMEX gift card. Residents adopted ducks from the Rotary Club that costs anywhere from $10 a head, $50 for a six-quack and $100 for a bakers dozen.
Captain Kelly Murphy of Hope Hose Company No. 1 was one of the members of the Tarrytown Fire Department responsible for filling the stream with water so that the ducks can race toward the finish line.
“It’s a lot of work but over the years with the help of Joey and a couple other members we have learned different things to help make better dams to build up the water and make the water flow a lot better. Joey loved doing this he loved helping his community and helping people in general—even if it was a random person on the street he was always there and we really appreciate the Rotary Club doing this in his memory,” Murphy said.
The Tarrytown YMCA combined their event with the Duck Derby. Their mission is to raise funds and awareness with a variety of activities as part of their Healthy Kids Day.
Barbara Turk is the vice president of marketing and community development at the Tarrytown YMCA. They were the primary sponsors of Healthy Kids Day.
“We have a lot of sponsors, including Met Life, Citibank, Dannon, and we’ve had more vendors than we ever had this year and the traffic is amazing, one of our newest additions this year is Rock Island Sound. They provided all the sound systems for the youth and we are also collaborating with them on a summer camp this year—the YMCA Summer Shakespeare Camp will present ‘Twelfth Night’ and Rock Island Sound will run a camp simultaneously for the jazz band. They will perform with us August 2, 3, and 4 at Patriots Park,” explained Turk.
The Rock Island Sound music camp students had an opportunity to show their talents playing live music for everyone to enjoy. Parents who came to the Rubber Duck Derby and Healthy Kids Day had a large selection of tasty and healthy food to sample while the kids were getting their faces painted or, played on moon bounces and slides.
Brandon Beck came to the Duck Derby for the first time.
“It’s great and a nice day and a lot of things going on and it’s good to have the whole community come together for something like this.”
Joe Limone and Todd Ruppel of the Rivertown Runners set up a booth to get people to register for the Tarrytown Trek 5K to benefit the YMCA.
“It’s great to be here at the Duck Derby and Healthy Kids Day event. We are here signing up Runners for the our up coming Sleepy Hollow Half-Marathon and Tarrytown Trek. Hopefully we’ll have a good turnout,” said Todd Ruppel a member.
“We got nice weather and we’re looking forward to it, “ said Joe Limone, vice-president.
Anita Suchdeo of Sleepy Hollow attended the event last year with her kids and came back this year.
“We love it! The kids like the bouncing castle—we come for the food and the Healthy Kids Day, it’s a day of exercising our body and eating healthy food. We always buy the raffle tickets and the duck tickets and we watch the duck races it’s a lot of fun,” said Suchdeo.
Carolina Lopez was one of the children that gave her take on the event.
“There’s a lot of fun activities and I would like to win the $1,000!”
Bob Kimmel of The Hudson Independent newspaper served as the MC.
“I am here announcing the events. I alert people what’s going on during the course of the YMCA Healthy Kids Day and Rotary Club Duck Derby and let them know how they can adopt a duck or sign up for one of the YMCA activities—it’s a terrific day large crowd and more ducks adopted than ever before.”
Dr. Howard Smith, the school superintendent has been the ‘Chief’ Duck Catcher for all the Duck Derbies.
“A couple of the Rotary Club members came up with the duck race. It’s a great idea! Somehow, I got drafted as the ‘Chief Duck Catcher” I’ve been here every year happily snagging the first duck to the finish line and it’s been great to see the whole event grow in ways that attract a huge cross-section of our community—kids from all over the villages and their parents love it. There are so many activities and I’m glad we are having a beautiful spring day.” Dr. Howard Smith said.
John Sardy, the Executive Director of the Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown Chamber of Commerce supports the Tarrytown Rotary Club and their commitment to the community.
“They’re raising money for all the community groups and they do a wonderful job! Today is a record turnout. We support them and we love this event,” said Sardy.
State Senator, Andrea Stewart-Cousins made a special appearance at the event.
“It’s always a great day—the YMCA does a wonderful job and the reality is it’s a Healthy Kids Day and you see children, wherever you look- they’re having fun, getting their face painted and they’re outdoors and we know how important that is to get kids to get outside and away from their video games to really enjoy nature, fun, family, friends, and good food, so it’s a wonderful day,” stated Senator Stewart-Cousins.
Nicole, a member of the marketing crew at Sam’s Club in Elmsford, set up a booth and is a strong supporter of the Rotary Duck Derby.
“We’re here to donate our great services of Sam’s Club and give out gift cards from $10-25 dollars for those that do sign up. We actually sponsor the Rotary Club Rubber Ducky race—we donated gift cards, hamburger and hot dog buns to the fire department for their big barbeque. We have marketing events, we donate and sponsor, open up our partner membership programs to all the local businesses and we come in and set up a booth, hand out snacks and introduce Sam’s Club.”
The event rose close to $1,700, which topped last year’s. Thanks to community support and the lovely weather.
Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown News bumped into SH Mayor Ken Wray who was out and about enjoying all the festivities.
“It’s wonderful that the YMCA does this they get the word out to kids reminding them to stay healthy and enjoying themselves at the same time,” said Mayor Wray.
Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown News congratulates all the winners of the 2012 Rotary Rubber Duck Derby:
Annie and Ben Cauthen
Mayor Drew Fixell