The biggest Rubber Duck Derby in Arkansas returns Saturday when the Bryant Rotary Club hosts its annual event at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mills Park.
The event is focused on raising money for local organizations that support kids, including the Bryant Boys & Girls Club, the Imagination Library of Saline County, and the Bryant Rotary Kids Closet.
“It’s all about the children of Saline County,” said Shelby McFarland, the CEO of Shelby & Company, Inc., the marketing agency that represents the Bryant Rotary Club. McFarland said he has been a part of the Duck Derby since it started seven years ago and she has brought her enthusiasm to the festival every year since.
The event will kick off at 8 a.m. with a 5K race, followed by the festival at 10 a.m. The festival is free to attend and will feature food trucks, carnival games, live music, bounce houses, games, and more.
Ducks can be bought online ahead of time at the Saline Rotary Club website, or on the day of the Derby at the event while supplies last.
The Derby comes to a close at 2 p.m. as 5,000 ducks are set loose down the man-made river. The top 10 winners of the Duck Derby will receive prizes valued over $500 or more, and the top two will receive prizes of more than $1,000. Even the last place duck will win a free pair of shoes at Tops Shoes, located on I-30 in Benton.
More than 100 racers participated in the morning 5K last year, and runners will receive a T-shirt and medal. There will also be lots prizes for carnival games up for grabs.
All proceeds from the festival will go to helping area children, and the Derby also helps fund the Bryant Rotary Kids Closet, which clothes 3,000 children each year in Saline County alone, but the Rotarians’ generosity extends beyond the county line.
“We had a lot of Pulaski County kids come down after the tornado so we clothed a bunch of them,” said McFarland. The Club is still open as a resource to any of those who need it.
For those interested in supporting the event, ducks can be adopted for $5 on the Saline Rotary Club website. Ducks are labeled by number which is shared with the participant via email, and winners will be contacted by the Club so you don’t even have to be present to win.
As a pre-Mother’s Day extra, the festival will also feature a gift basket giveaway for a lucky local mom. Participants simply need to sign up for the drawing between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the day of the event.