Duck ‘flocks’ invade Summit County in lead up to Great Rubber Duck Race
BRECKENRIDGE — Ducks have invaded Summit County. Gangs of silent yellow quackers with blank, black eyes have taken residence on front yards and inside businesses all across the county. At the end of the month, an entire horde of them will be floating down the Blue River.
The “flocks” of rubber and inflatable ducks moving around the county come courtesy of The Summit Foundation, as part of its annual Great Rubber Duck Race fundraiser Aug. 31.
Taryn Power, director of events and marketing for The Summit Foundation, said this is the first year the foundation has done the “flocking” campaign in advance of the rubber duck race. The campaign is inspired by similar pink flamingo flocking fundraisers, which have become popular across the country in recent years.
The Summit Foundation’s duck fundraiser, the biggest of three annual foundation fundraisers, raises more than $150,000 every year.
This year, the foundation incorporated the flocking concept to raise awareness of the duck race and to have some quirky, quacky fun among locals.
The Summit Foundation’s flocking fundraiser has people paying to send one of six “flocks” of bright yellow rubber ducks and larger inflatable ducks — all named “Bruce” — to friends and associates.
Summit Foundation staff members then deliver the ducks and arrange them in front of the recipient’s home or business, with the intention of surprising them.
The “victim” is then light-heartedly extorted into paying The Summit Foundation to clean up the ducks, with the ability to pay more to send the flock to another home or business. The suggested — but optional — donation for a cleanup is $100, while passing the flock on to someone else costs $100 more.
In its first two weeks, The Summit Foundation has flocked 47 homes and businesses, with one more week to go. Businesses that have been flocked include Tavern West in Frisco, Coldwell Banker in Breckenridge, Breckenridge Distillery and developer Breckenridge Lands.
Flocked residents include Breckenridge Town Council member Jeffrey Bergeron, also known to Summit Daily readers as “Biff,” and Breckenridge Grand Vacation Gives program manager Deb Edwards.
“It’s been friends forwarding flocks on to friends,” Power said. “We’ll drive to a home or business and ‘flock’ someone, we’ll put signs up in a yard saying, ‘You’ve been flocked by a friend.’ There’s an optional donation to clean it up, and a donation to flock it forward.”
There is even the ability to purchase “flocking insurance,” where residents and businesses can make a donation to ensure they aren’t flocked for the rest of the summer. Flocks are meant to move every 24 hours and have visited every town in the county.
While the flocking concept is new, the Great Rubber Duck Race certainly is not. The race, in its 32nd year, has kids, adults and businesses sponsor more than 12,000 small rubber ducks for three races. The kids’ Duck Dash, for children 12 and younger, is sponsored by FirstBank; the regular Great Rubber Duck Race is sponsored by Breckenridge Grand Vacations; and the Business Battle race is being sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
During each race, the ducks are dropped into the Blue River at Maggie Pond and float a few hundred feet down the river, past the Dredge restaurant and continuing on down the Upper Blue until reaching a finish line at the Riverwalk Center. Sponsors for the first ducks across the finish line win grand prizes.
The grand prize for the Great Rubber Duck Race is $1,500. The Business Battle winner gets a private, catered snowcat trip for 12, courtesy of Vail Resorts EpicPromise. The grand prize for the kids’ race is a kids’ local Epic Pass, also courtesy of Vail Resorts EpicPromise. Many other prizes sponsored by local businesses will be given out to runners-up.
“It’s going to be a whole day ducky festival,” Power said. “The flocking was about getting everybody into the spirit of duck. It’s definitely a fun thing to do.”
There is only one week left for flocking, and slots are being snapped up quickly. To sponsor a flocking, call The Summit Foundation at 970-453-5970 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To sponsor a duck for the rubber duck races Aug. 31, visit SummitDuck.org. Follow the adventures of Bruce the ducks on Instagram at @whereisbrucetheduck.
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