Duck Derby taking place in Hot Springs

     As we move into summertime The Allegheny Highlands have plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun, ranging from hiking and fishing, to various festivals, to the Duck Derby in downtown Hot Springs this coming Saturday evening. This benefit raises money for the Hot Springs Rescue Squad.  Debbie Young, a member of the squad told us about their service.

“It serves all of Bath County and we do lend assisting aid to Falling Springs and Highland.”

Some of the volunteers travel several different times over a year.

“There’s training in Blacksburg at the Rescue College; there is training at the Symposium which is held in Hampton in November, and there is training at the state competition which we try to send a team to every year.  That is in Hampton this year also.”

The Rescue Squad has been holding the Duck Derby for six years, and has made a few changes and additions this year.  There is still the street dance, and the visit from Mayor McDuck.

“We started out small and it has continued to grow, thanks to the support of the community, and that’s been a real blessing.  DJ Willy is going to spin the tunes for us this year as usual, so we’re excited to have him back.  It’s in a new location.  It’s at what used to be the Old Stables located across from the Fire and Rescue Building.  It’s a grassy spot, so just bring a blanket.  Toss your blanket out and have a place to sit.  You can also bring folding chairs of course.  It’ll be a bigger space.  But the main thing is it’s going to be a longer race for the ducks. They’ll put the ducks in at the little bridge and they’ll be able to race all the way down to the road, down on Main Street people can spread out and they’ll be able to see the race better.  There’s sort of a little gravel area that we’re gonna have the dance on.”

Rescue Squad members will be serving hot dogs, hamburgers and more for a fee.  And there’s a fine opportunity for sweets too.

“Anybody, that wants to donate baked goods.  We are asking the community to support us through baked goods.  You can bring the baked good to the funeral home on Friday, or you can bring the baked good to the event on Saturday night.  And if you’re able to bake something, if you would get in touch with Pat Bird: her number is 839-2571.  And she would gladly take  any donations that anybody is willing to bake; and when I say donations, I mean cakes, pies and cookies.”

So for those not yet in the know, these are the little yellow bath tub ducks, like the one Ernie sung about on Sesame Street.  Debbie Young described how it all works.

“I guess it’s really more like you rent a duck for the evening.  You make a donation of five dollars and you’re given a number and each duck has a number on the bottom.  And so the ducks are put in at the starting gate, so it’s clear even start.  And then there is a very clear and definite ending gate. There are two heats; so you have a chance of winning first, second and third place in race #1, as well as first, second and third place in race number two.  The cost to get a duck is five dollars.  The first place duck wins three hundred dollars, the second place winner gets two hundred dollars, the third place winner gets a hundred dollars.  So if you buy six ducks, and you’re really a positive person,  you could win twelve-hundred dollars.”

“The date is Saturday May twenty-fifth at 7:00, and it’s at the lot across from the fire house. The admission ticket into the dance is seven dollars for adults, and children are ages two to twelve, and the ducks are five dollars each.”

  To sign up for a duck before Saturday, you can contact a member of the Hot Springs Rescue Squad.  Or if that doesn’t work, get your duck’s number, and cheer from the side of the stream. 

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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