Nothing says spring in the suburbs like a team of rubber ducks bobbing and bumping down a river. The annual YMCA Healthy Kids Day and Rotary Duck Derby, a four-hour affair at Sleepy Hollow’s Patriot Park, is a family favorite of ours. The event typically draws more than 1,500 people, all of whom come to enjoy the live music, vendors, crafts, entertainment and, of course, hordes of rubber ducks.
This year’s event will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017, 11am - 3pm, and we have what you need to know. Looking for more spring family fun? Check out our Event Calendar and follow us on Facebook.
Although there’s a lot going on that day, the star of the day is always the Duck Derby. New for this year, a 50/50 memorial race will be held at 11:15. Just 10 ducks will take part in this race, being held in honor of a Rotary member who passed away.
The main race will be held on the north end of the park at 11:45am. Visitors can wager on a given rubber duck to win a downstream race; you’ll receive an Official Ducky Adoption Certificate for doing so. Ducks cost $10 each, $50 for a “Six-Quack” and $100 for a “Tub-O-Ducks” with 13 rubber souls. You can purchase them ahead of time online or by mailing in a form to save time.
This year's lucky duck will take home $1,500!
Throughout the day, everyone gathers to watch as the ducks are released into the water and to cheer them on. Good luck finding a face without a grin at the sight of a swarm of yellow rubber ducks floating down the waterfalls—and of the generous volunteers who venture into the stream in chest-high waders to officiate at the finish line. Prizes are awarded to those who pick the winning ducks, and this year’s grand prize is $1,500!
In addition to the races, Y Healthy Kids Day, hosted by Tarrytown’s YMCA, features live entertainment (primarily by local teen bands and dance schools), rides for young children, a climbing wall for older kids, sports, outdoor games and carnival games. We suggest taking advantage of the wrist bands for the rides.
You’ll also find crafts, face painting, kids’ yoga and a variety of food for purchase, including local eats from Tarry Tavern.
Keeping with the health theme of the day, dozens of wellness and fitness vendors set up shop with information and giveaways, and you can also check out live animals from the 4H Club.
Kids can bounce and play in between the races. Photo taken by the author.
Watching the duck derbies never get old for my kids, so we try to strategize our time to avoid missing any. In between is the best time to jump on the bouncy houses, hit the stage area or grab a bite. Once you’ve had your fill, head over to the playground at the south end of the park or to the children’s room at the nearby Warner Library.
If fun isn’t enough of an incentive to attend, participants can also feel good knowing the funds raised through the event benefit the Y Strong Kids Financial Aid Fund for underserved youth.
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This post was written in 2016 and has been updated for 2017.
Photos courtesy of The Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns unless otherwise indicated.