After a wet, rainy weather outcome drowned all hopes of holding the Elkin Valley Trails Association’s annual duck and turtle regatta Pumpkin Festival weekend, the event has been rescheduled for this Saturday afternoon.
The regatta is one of the EVTA’s most popular fundraisers, with hundreds of sponsored rubber duckies and turtles released into Elkin Creek for the chance to win prizes. Grand prize is a 10.5-foot kayak from Yadkin River Adventures.
The ducks and turtles will be launched at 3 p.m. from the Elk Spur Street bridge above the library and finish just below the library near the West Main Street bridge as local Boy Scouts volunteer their services fishing the floating racers out of the creek. Two toots of a horn will announce they are ready for launch.
EVTA volunteer Joe Hicks said the first 40 ducks and turtles to be caught will be eligible for a large variety of prizes which have been donated by area businesses, and then winners, matched by a number on their “adopted” duck or turtle, will be notified by phone within a few days of the regatta.
Once the ducks and turtles are placed in the water, adults and children line the banks to watch them coast down stream, eagerly anticipating the announcing of winners. As they float along, the ducks and turtles will head towards the West Main Street Bridge, over the dam behind the library, where the Boy Scouts will fish them out with nets.
The idea behind the fundraiser began more than 20 years ago, according to EVTA Governing Board member Bob Hillyer. The Foothills Nature Science Society once sponsored a Ducky Derby that turned out to be the launching board for what is now the Duck and Turtle Regatta. “It’s a nice improvement,” said Hillyer, who is a fan of how organized the event has become.
“It’s a pretty good fundraiser, it’s fun,” said Hillyer. According to Hillyer, the most fun is watching people try to slant the odds in their favor as they determine which will work best for the conditions. “Some argue the duck will work best with the wind blowing it down stream…. or it could blow it upstream.”
So far, along with the first place prize of a kayak, sponsors will be competing for one of three bikes from Walmart, dinner at Cracker Barrel, Elkin Parks and Recreation gift card, Generations Restaurant, Yadkin General Store gift card, Mazzini’s Restaurant dinners, Dodge City Restaurant, Elkin Creek Vineyard experience, Combs Produce gift card, grill and cooking tools, Ivy Ridge Creations gift card, Tweetsie Railroad tickets, Adagio Vineyard wine, Carolina Heritage Vineyard gift card, 222 Public House gift card, Harry’s Place gift card, Slightly Askew Winery, Precision Custom oil change, camping headlamps and knife from Lowe’s, NC Zoo tickets, lap quilt trails related, dinner gift card from Hot Shotz Bar & Grill, “Manager Mouse” by Sarah Byrd, Larson’s Pottery, Skull Camp Brewery tasting, opportunities for wine tastings at Shelton Vineyards and a John Deere toy excavator.
Proceeds from the event are split between the EVTA and Rotary Club, both of which provide services for the local community.
According to Hillyer, the EVTA hopes to have more trails open by next spring, including the implementation of bridge building projects already in the works. “I’ve been so impressed with the people you meet,” said Hillyer of the fellow trail enthusiasts. “The response [from the community] has been wonderful.”
For more information on the Duck and Turtle Regatta, visit ElkinValleyTrails.org.