California Festivals

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Duck Derbies, Duck Races & Rubber Duckathons

There must be something special about the yellow rubber duck. People go quackers for them. It's said that a maid at the Royal Palace even spotted the Queen with one that wears a crown! In California, there are over 20 duck derbies and duck races held annually.

If you've never seen one, the excitement centers around the race, or the win. People purchase an artificial duck (or many) to help raise money for a special cause. Prices of rubber ducks are inflated beyond the actual cost and usually cost participants anywhere from $5 to 100. Here are some ideas on starting your own duck derby event!

Duck Derbies

WHITTIER: Rubber Duck Race and Recreation Swim May 6, 2023, 1-4 p.m. at Palm Park, 5703 Palm Ave., Whittier, CA
$5, $2 additional duck,  cityofwhittier.org
Registered participants will each receive a Rubber Duck to race across the pool with the help of our amazing Lifeguards. Since the Lifeguards help propel the Ducks, anyone could be the 1st, 2nd or 3rd place winner. After the race, the fun continues with the pool's first Rec Swim of the year!

CRESTLINE: Crestline Duck Derby March 30, 2024, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Lake Gregory Recreational Park. Over 2,000  rubber ducks race to the finish along the banks of Lake Gregory.  Park Rangers release all the rubber duckies down the 320 foot winding water slide where the ducks plunge into the icy cold lake. Because of their training and diligence they will navigate their way through the spill way. Then the competition gets tuff as they fight their way to be the first to reach the finish line. Purchase a ticket to adopt  a duck in this fundraiser. Location:  24171 Lake Drive, Crestline, CA 92325. crestlinechamber.org

 

Past events

 

LA MIRADA: Going Quackers for Kids Derby Duck Race April 20, 2019, 11 a.m.
duckrace.com
Kiwanis Club of La Mirada 

SUTTER CREEK Duck  Dash April 27, 2019 is not a duck race but simply a human race at the park.  Minnie Provis Park,  71 Church St., Sutter Creek, CA   suttercreek.org

SANTA CRUZ Ducky Derby April 27, 2019, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Omega Nu, in cooperation with the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department, presents the Annual Ducky Derby and Carnival in Friendship Gardens at Harvey West Park. 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. duckyderbysantacruz.org Annual Ducky Derby & Carnival Rain or Shine Saturday Rubber Duck Races Games Food Prizes Entertainment Free Admission

RIVERSIDE: Duck Daze May 4, 2019, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Hidden Valley Nature Center
11401 Arlington
Riverside, CA
$4 person, rivcoparks.org/event/duck-daze-2/

FREMONT Ducks 4 Bucks Benefit Race not listed in 2019 Contact Kiwanis to find out if it's still a club project.   | ducks

WESTPORT Mother's Day May Great Rubber Ducky Race May 12, 2019, 11:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Westport Beach RV & Campground. Sponsored by Westport Village Society (2nd Sunday in May) westportvillagesociety.org
 Westport Beach RV Park & Campground north of the village of Westport, CA from 11:15 to 3:30 PM or so. Bring your Mom, children and anyone with a spirit of fun! This event is the primary WVS fundraiser held every year on Mother's Day since our nonprofit was first organized in 1992. We thank the Westport Beach RV Park and Campground for graciously hosting our event all these years! It is a fantastic venue and your distant friends from other places may enjoy camping here when they visit you! Bring Mom to Westport's Great Rubber Ducky Race on Sunday May 12, 2019. The gates Open at 11:15 am. This fun family event features as always 3 separate ducky races, food by Sugar Coated Catering and Zocolove Collective, baked goods, mimosas, beautiful pots of flowers for mothers, raffles including a lovely handmade quilt, music, and prizes for kids. There will also be a fun consignment boutique for mom to get a little shopping in, as well as a raffle of beautifully decorated sunhats paired with gift certificates to local businesses. Schedule of Events: Music, merchandise, baked goods and drinks are available continuously. Meals are served from Noon to 3:30 Registration for the races occurs from 11:30-2:15 PM. The 3 races start at 12:30 (handcrafted ducks); 1:30 (kids); and 2:15 (classic).

SANTA MARIA: CASA Ducky Derby  May 19, 2019, 1 p.m.
CMT Ranch
5200 Dominion Road
Orcutt, CA
duckrace.com/sbcounty
Just look for the big red barn! Then watch 10,000 rubber ducks.
The Mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County is to assure a safe, permanent, nurturing home for every abused and/or neglected child by providing a highly trained volunteer to advocate for them in the court system.

VISTA: May 19, 2019, 1-4 p.m. Duck Race & Season Pass Preview
1-4 pm. Sponsor a $5 Duck ticket and receive FREE admission from 1-4pm. All attractions will be in operation! Season Pass holders receive FREE admission and can bring a guest for FREE too! The Duck Race happens at 2:30pm. Come see the ducks race around the river and sponsor a duck for your chance to win fabulous prizes! thewavewaterpark.com

HUNTINGTON BEACH May 31-June 2, 2019 Duck-a-thon at Huntington Beach Pier duckathon.org

SAN CLEMENTE: Great Rubber Duck Race July 21, 2019, 3 p.m. Ocean Festival Sunday. Annual Great Rubber Duck Race. Great prizes. oceanfestival.org

PALMDALE: August 30, 2019, 6 p.m.
Dry Town Water Park
Palmdale, CA
duckrace.com
Kiwanis Club of Palmdale West Palmdale, California  serves the children of the Antelope Valley. Citizen of the Month awards for 27 Palmdale schools and scholarships to high school graduates. 

SANTA CLARITA: October 12, 2019, 1 p.m.
duckrace.com
Annual Rubber Ducky Festival usually held at Bridgeport Park Santa Clarita, CA Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers duckrace.com

GLENDALE Duck Splash October 19, 2019, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Where: Glendale, CA Lake Glendale at Verdugo Park Organization: Glendale Kiwanis Foundation  facebook.com/pg/Ducks4Kids/

Past Events

SAN LUIS OBISPO: Ducky Derby 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sigma Nu Fraternity raises funds for the American Cancer Society. The event features racing rubber ducks about 100 feet down the creek near Mission Plaza. cpsigmanu.com

INCLINE VILLAGE: July 4, 2018, 3:30-4:30 p.m. approx.
Rubber Duck Races at the Village Green Fun and prizes abound at the Rubber Duck Races! More details coming soon! Enter your duck for just $10 at Raley's or through the Rotary Club of Incline Village. Over $5000 in cash prizes. Sponsored by Raley's. Supported by Rotary Club of Incline Village. redwhitetahoeblue.org

RIO DELL: Duck Race August 12, 2018, part of Wildwood Days August 10-12, 2018
riodellscotiachamber.org

AZUSA: Rubber Ducky Regatta tba 2018
August 27, 2017, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Azusa Aquatics Center
501 E. 5th St. Azusa, CA 91702
ci.azusa.ca.us
All proceeds go to our community Azusa Aquatics Center. Donation includes dinner, music, raffles, free swim and Rubber Ducky Regatta.

NEVADA CITY September 9, 2018, 2 p.m. Constitution Day Parade, The 2 p.m. Sunday parade features more than 100 entries and culminates other activities including Civil War battle reenactments in Pioneer Park, the Gold Country Duck Race on Deer Creek and a free outdoor big band concert in the downtown historic district. nevadacitychamber.com

KERNVILLE: Duck Races August gotokernville.com

AVALON April - no specific date listed. Rubber Ducky Derby Annual Rubber Ducky Derby Annual fundraising event to support the local children's theatre company Kids At Play. The derby begins at noon on South Beach. Adoption of ducks (past prices): Solo Ducks for 5 bucks; 5 Quackers for 20 smackers; 30 Racing Thrills for two 50 dollar bills. Corporate sponsorships are $100 (extra large duck). Kids At Play, 310-510-0288. catalinachamber.com

REDDING Ducky Derby has ended in 2019!
Since inception over $3 million has been returned to local communities for youth development programs and drug- and alcohol-free activities. Redding Rotary East presents Redding Ducky Derby reddingduckyderby.com

BAKERSFIELD: Great American Duck Race March 2-4, 2018, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  Fairgrounds Great American Duck Race Free with admission into the Fred Hall Sports Show, kerncountyfair.com Real ducks!

DANA POINT: Festival of Whales Ducky Race, Duck Derby March 4, 2018, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Hosted by the Dana Point Woman's Club, this fun spin on a traditional Rubber Ducky Race at Baby Beach. Duckies may be purchased in advance by contacting Joan Marie Kerr at 949-859-7506 or the day of the event at the DPWC station at Baby Beach. Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. festivalofwhales.com

Some participants opt to not take their ducks home (when it is an option) after the races have finished. There are companies that rent and deliver thousands of rubber ducks, and take them back after the event, cleaning them, recycling them, etc.

The rubber duck race or derby requires a source of water to race the hundreds or thousands of ducks that bobble and bounce toward some destination. To get them to move in a direction, there must be a slant on the artificial ramp, or waves you'll find naturally in lakes and oceans.

We've seen California duck races held in the Pacific Ocean with volunteers gathering the ducks as they come to shore, we've seen at water parks, and we've seen them in places where there's no natural body of water. In those situations, the planners make their own water race course. Rubber ducky fans can't get their fill of duck-mania in California can certainly get their fix.

Here are some past rubber duck races and derbies in California:

There must be something special about the yellow rubber duck. People go quackers for them. In my house alone, there are four sitting on the bathtub shelf and every time I try to make them disappear (they've been there for years) someone cries, "fowl!" It's said that a maid at the Royal Palace even spotted the Queen with one (the duck wears a crown) so you just never know who likes them--and why. For rubber ducky fans, you can't get your fill of duck-mania in California but you can certainly get your fix.

  • SOUTH LAKE TAHOE  Ducky Races South Lake Tahoe Optimist Club's Day in Paradise - Duck Race & BBQ at Tahoe Paradise Park. Location: 1011 East San Bernardino Avenue South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

  • BISHOP: Rubber Ducky Derby   FUNdraiser for Rotary Club of Bishop, Location: City Park
  • BANNING BEAUMONT Quickest Quacker September Morongo Casino
  • HANFORD June Ducky Derby at Hanford West High School
  • LA MIRADA Going Quackers

  • LANCASTER September Duck Derby
  • SANTA CLARA Great America Ducky Derby September cagreatamerica.com

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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