Friday, May 9, 2014

Reedy River Duck Derby

There was no ducking out of going to Falls Park on Saturday.
It really was all it was quacked up to be.
The boys took to the derby as a duck takes to water.
Good thing we got all our ducks in a row to make it to this event.

(OK, I’ll take pity on my readers and stop with the duck jokes, although I know you two are quacking up)

Note to organizers - you need two "do not climb" signs, one visible from each direction!

Having lived in Greenville on and off for quite some time, we had coincidentally never been in town on the weekend of the Reedy River Duck Derby. Our luck changed this year, as the 10th anniversary derby was last Saturday while my mother was in town. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Greenville, this event launches thousands of rubber ducks over the Falls in downtown. Each duck is numbered, having been “adopted” beforehand, and the first ducks to make it down to the finish line below Liberty Bridge won their adoptees some fabulous prizes. First prize this year was groceries for a year from Publix, and although our adopted duck wasn’t among the forty or so winners, I believe we’ll have better duck next year.

Duck Derby events started at 10am that morning, with games, music and activities throughout Falls Park. We had parked north of the TD Saturday Market so as to give our guest the chance to browse for some local souvenirs, and after stopping into Spill the Beans for ice cream and coffee we settled in at the Overlook Pavilion to people watch. Publix had set up a booth giving away hula hoops and reusable shopping bags, and I was immediately glad for bringing the stroller so as to be able to cart all this stuff around…

Next we headed across Liberty Bridge, where we tried our hand with a hockey stick and puck at the Road Warriors slap shot game, built flower pots with Home Depot, enjoyed a Kona Ice and then saw it was already time to grab spots to watch the ducks. We set up camp with a good view of the start line and the falls, and spent the next thirty minutes snacking to pass the time.

Before we knew it, the gates were released and swirls of ducks came spinning down the river towards us, funneling into the main channel and spilling over the falls. It seemed that they just kept coming and coming, a surprise to us considering how quickly the current was flowing. Some got redirected into various eddies and shallows, and just below the Falls an enormous yellow algae bloom (my mother’s label) grew as the whirlpool pulled ducks aside from the main strait.

And they're off!

As the stream of ducks slowed to a trickle we headed back across the bridge, stopping to check out the corral of ducks at the finish line. A chute in the middle enabled derby volunteers to pull out the winners, but we decided not to wait until they were announced and instead start back towards the car. There were plenty more things to do and see, but the day was hot and our party rather tired from a long morning.

The Duck Derby offers an opportunity for local non-profit organizations including church groups and school service clubs to participate by being a Duck Adoption Team and promoting duck adoptions. It is also possible to adopt a duck without designating a team; this year’s adoption costs were 1 duck for $10 or 4 for $30.

This isn't your everyday bath!

Both boys enjoyed the excitement and activity of derby day, and I believe that we will join in the festivities again next year. Maybe we’ll have better luck picking a duck?


  1. So fun! Do you how many ducks there were all total?

    1. Today's paper reported 10,000 - that's probably give or take a thousand.

  2. Quack, quack Liene...what a fun post and a great day out!

    1. It was! Our downtown is great for a Saturday stroll even without thousands of rubber ducks going over the falls, but that made it even more exciting.


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