Rubber Ducks Get Dumped in Huntington Beach Duck-a-thon

NOTE: Duck-a-thon is no longer held in Huntington Beach

It's sink or swim in Huntington Beach, Calif. this weekend as a giant bulldozer filled with vibrant yellow rubber ducks dumps them into the sea to find their way back to shore. Seem cruel? Thousands of rubber ducks actually do swim back to the sands of Huntington City Beach and the first arrivals earn prizes for their owners. Duck-a-thon event is an annual celebration, one of many such rubber duck races in California, to raise funds for special causes.

How it works: On Saturday, May 14, 2011, you show up at the Huntington Beach Pier and buy a rubber duck (around $10). You pick out a name for the duck and they write that name on your duck so you know it is yours. Since thousands of ducks are sold, they also assign numbers to them. Your duckie is put in the bulldozer and waits for the big duck drop held in the afternoon. When the whistle blows, the ducks are dumped, dropping in a huge yellow cloud into the ocean below.

Funny: Surfers used to barrel over on their boards and start grabbing the ducks when they were dumped. Perhaps they were trying to help the critters. Participants cried, "Fowl!" however, and the pier area is now secured. Surfers and swimmers are shooed away for the 15 minutes that it takes for the ducks to be dumped, then float back to shore. An officiating judge declares the winners as volunteers on shore collect and place the thousands of ducks into plastic laundry bins. If you bought a duck, you can claim it later in the day. Otherwise, the ducks are cleaned up and used again.

Want more? If you want to go to this interesting event, it includes a wine tasting celebration on Friday evening, May 13, at Huntington Beach's Pier Plaza next to the HB Pier. Cost is around $50. If you want to enjoy the Duck-a-thon, show up on Saturday for the citizens' duck race which takes place around 3 p.m. (300 Pacific Coast Highway, approx.) The festival continues all weekend at Huntington Beach Pier with music, games for kids, and more.

If you can't make it to this exciting duck dump, you may find similar races in Irvine, Dana Point and Redding, to name a few California cities hosting rubber duck events.

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