Ducks float along during the annual Silverdale Rotary Duck Race at Whaling Days on the Silverdale water front. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Ducks float along during the annual Silverdale Rotary Duck Race at Whaling Days on the Silverdale water front. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Silverdale Rotary Duck race canceled for 2020

Silverdale Rotary Club will pivot to COVID-19 relief efforts

The annual Silverdale Rotary Duck Race, one of the community’s most beloved annual events for the past 27 years, has been canceled for 2020.

The duck race always takes place on the last Sunday in July during Whaling Days and sees thousands of little rubber duckies dumped into Dyes Inlet. The crowd gathers on the beach at Silverdale Waterfront Park in Old Town and watches as the ducks make their way to the funnel, hoping to win a brand new Nissan truck for its owner — the first place award — or one of several other prizes.

“It takes so many committed and hardworking volunteers, working closely together to put on this beloved event.” said Rotary club president Christie Scheffer in announcing the race’s cancellation. “It’s one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made. The Duck Race is such an iconic part of Silverdale and means so much to so many people. 100 percent of the funds raised have been reinvested back into the community to meet needs. It has been an opportunity for community members to contribute and make a real difference in their own community.”

Steve Boe, a Rotary member and the current president-elect, said there were simply too many things that had to be ready by this time in order to put on the Duck Race in July. With the “stay-at-home” restrictions still in place and too many moving parts, putting on the race this year just didn’t seem feasible.

“It was just too much of a logistics problem with the restrictions,” Boe said.

The Duck Race remains one of Silverdale’s most popular events. Boe said it was common to see residents chasing down volunteers from across the parking lot in order to get their tickets for the race.

Although there will be no race, the Rotary will pivot to working on various COVID-19 relief projects. In many cases, sponsors which had already contributed to the Duck Race allowed the Rotary to keep the money to put toward that effort.

Boe said he was in the process of setting up a “text-to-donate” number for anyone willing to contribute money. The Rotary is also donating to the local food bank and is working to deliver packing supplies to the school district for the daily lunches it distributes.

But fear not, the ducks are merely taking a one-year reprieve and Rotary expects to have the competitors back in the water in 2021.

“Waddles the Duck and the Silverdale Duck Race will definitely return next year,” said Scheffer. “In the meantime, through our #ShutInNOTShutOut program, the club is focusing its efforts on COVID-19 relief projects. We will continue to be a caring, visible force in the community with the mission of ‘Service Above Self.’”

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