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Hope Floats | By Rebekah Sanderlin

04/01/2011 03:31PM ● Published by Anonymous

On May 7 thousands of bright yellow rubber ducks will light upon the Cape Fear River in  order to raise money for some great causes. Proceeds from the sale of the ducks will benefit the Fayetteville Urban Ministries and more than 20 other local non-profit organizations.  The Fayetteville Urban Ministry provides emergency assistance for families, adult literacy programs, assistance to complete GED programs, college applications and tax returns and also the well-known Nehemiah Project, which reaches out to low-income seniors and impoverished families whose homes need necessary repairs.  Katie Crenshaw said that she and Aurora Alexander, co-chairs for the Fayetteville Duck Derby, learned last year that the Fayetteville Urban Ministry was in dire need of donations. They looked around for a clever way to raise money for the organization and discovered the Duck Derby concept. “This is the first year for our Duck Derby,” Crenshaw said, “but cities all over the world have been doing events like this for years.”  Reading about the Duck Derby concept, Crenshaw and Alexander were soon hooked, and it didn’t take long for others to embrace the idea, too.  

“The community has really gotten on board with the Duck Derby,” Crenshaw said. “People are so excited. It was powerful sitting in a room of volunteers and seeing the community take this event on and unite for everyone. Another special element is being part of the 31 Day Salute, to incorporate the military personnel.”  Crenshaw and Alexander say the Duck Derby puts the “fun” into fundraising. People can adopt a duck for $5 and there are various sponsorship levels for corporate teams who want to give more. Better yet, the adoptions can be done quickly and easily online. Crenshaw said they even recently received an adoption request from a soldier who is deployed to Iraq. Each duck is tagged in advance with a registration number, which will match the number given to the person who adopted that duck. On race day all of the ducks will be loaded into a dump truck and dropped into the Cape Fear River. The ducks will float from the bridge on Person Street to the railroad trestle and the owner of the first duck to cross the finish line will win a 2011 Toyota Camry donated by Rick Hendrick Toyota. The following five duck finishers will also be awarded valuable prizes.

The Duck Derby launched their “adopt a duck campaign” with a VID (Very Important Duck) party at the Rick Hendrick Toyota dealership on February 10, where local businesses and residents gathered for unique refreshments. Specially concocted drinks and appetizers were created by 11 local eateries and donated for the soiree. The same Duck Derby drinks and appetizers will stay on each of the restaurants’ menus for weeks leading up to the event. Customers can order the drinks and appetizers and proceeds from the sales will go to the Duck Derby. Also, customers can go to the Duck Derby’s website and vote for their favorites.  Participating restaurants include: Chris’s, Circa 1800, Hilltop House, Huske Hardeware, IT’Z Entertainment City, Luigi’s, Morgan’s Chophouse, 316 Oyster Bar, Pierro’s Italian Bistro, Riverside Steakhouse and Scrub Oaks.  “We are overwhelmed by the community support by local restaurants, it’s a unique partnership,” said Crenshaw.  On race day there will be a large festival at Campbellton Landing featuring local vendors, food and live entertainment and lots of activities for kids while people wait to find which duck was the luckiest.

“It’s an amazing opportunity that will impact so many people at all levels,” Crenshaw said.

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