The Richmond River at Fawcett Park in Ballina was full of colour on the weekend for the 30th Rotary Duck Race. The event has raised a quarter of a million dollars for charity over its history in Ballina.
This time the recipients were Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Lifesaving Club, Paradise FM and Northern Rivers Animal Services. A large crowd attended, despite a tsunami warning that morning and the ongoing COVID cloud hanging over the region.
In the corporate section of the event, Best Dressed Duck (out of 150 entries) went to the spectacular Kiss-themed duck from Resonator Music.
Second place went to Curves, and third went to Blushed and Beautiful.
Mumbai Masala Restaurant and Max Hair came fourth and fifth.
Ballina on Richmond Rotary President Col Lee welcomed his fellow judge, Mayor Sharon Cadwallader. He said, ‘We have been astounded by the quality, creativity, and enthusiasm by local business houses in dressing up their ducks. The number of entries is amazing.
‘We have also had a record number of community ducks, so I thank everybody here today who has purchased tickets.’ Mr Lee credited the organising committee and all the members who helped make the day such a success.
Mayor Cadwallader also thanked the ‘big duck’ (organiser Michael Jones) and the Rotary Club for all its support of the Ballina community. ‘That is what really makes up the fabric of our community – the willingness to care and support others that are less fortunate.’
She said judging the ducks had been extremely difficult, as the standard had been so high.
Sharon Cadwallader told The Echo it was wonderful that in such challenging times so many businesses had supported the event by buying and decorating a duck. ‘Especially with businesses that have been doing it really, really tough, to actually sell 150 ducks at $50 each has been a wonderful fundraiser.’
When it came to the actual races, the floating ducks were aided by a strong tide heading out to sea, with a couple making a run for New Zealand before being recaptured by ‘Richo’ and his family of helpers, plus Rotary volunteers in two other boats.
Hundreds of ducks were purchased by community members, including online sales, with prizes from Harvey Norman, Ballina Fair and PETstock up for grabs.
There were lots of families at the duck race, including Glyndwr and Vivien Roberts with their sons Monty and Charlie.
‘They’ve got one duck and the parents, we’re sharing a duck,’ said Mr Roberts. ‘We’re here for the fun of it, not for winning.’
And why are you here Monty? ‘Because I love the duck race!’
Mary and Patrick Richardson were on duck organisation duties with Mick Lyons, all from Ballina on Richmond Rotary Club, assisting ‘Richo’ senior.
Mick Lyons said, ‘It’s something that we do for the community, and we love doing it.’
Photo gallery below: