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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Naperville Riverwalk Duck Race presents photo opportunities along winding DuPage River


Above / Enjoy photo opportunities along the Naperville Riverwalk every day!

Pure joyful noises! In just minutes, the fourth annual Riverwalk Duck Race on Aug. 14 became a thing of the past. The anticipation, cheers and applause again united all ages who had a little numbered colored duck in the race. The promotion of the event gave organizers from the Riverwalk Foundation and presenting sponsor Busey Bank a chance to remember how the winding path was planned in 1979, then built brick by brick, to commemorate the City’s 150th anniversary back in 1981.

Organizers also gave out bookmarks with a reminder to protect and enjoy the river wildlife. 

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Pete Ellman

Just after the Moser Tower with the 72-bell Carillon chimed at 10AM, Aug. 14, trumpeter Pete Ellman performed “First Call” to announce the beginning of the race from the shore of the DuPage River, just below the footbridge that leads to Centennial Park and The Beach.

Then 1,640 little blue, pink and yellow plastic five-buck ducks were released from the footbridge into the rushing DuPage River. And off they floated toward the Eagle Street Bridge.

Duck Race Winners / No. 1,386, No. 593 & No. 1,379

The first little duck to the finish line was No. 1,386 purchased by Ted Van Dorn in a Quack Pack (1st Prize: $1,981), followed by No. 593 purchased by T. Egan (2nd Prize: $500), then No. 1,379 purchased by K. Novak (3rd Prize). Within 30 minutes most little ducks had finished the race.

Jumbo Duck Creative Costume Contest

What’s more, last year the Riverwalk Foundation introduced the Jumbo Duck Creative Costume Contest to the event. With the help of presenting sponsor Busey Bank, 11 nonprofit organizations were given large rubber duckies to outfit.

360 Youth Services, DuPage Children’s Museum, Bridge Communities, Loaves & Fishes Community Services, DuPage Pads, Little Friends, Naperville Responds for Veterans, Heart of a Veteran, Naperville Area Humane Society, Project H.E.L.P. and NCTV-17 delivered their ducks decked out in clever attire to attract attention to their good charitable causes.

In addition, other organizations and businesses sponsored rubber jumbo ducks and put them all in a row, too. In addition to Busey Bank, participants included Gary R. Weber Associates, Inc.; Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce; DHJ&J; Pancake Café; Pinot’s Palette; Colbert Custom Framing; Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA); St. Patrick’s Residence; and Big Frog Custom T-Shirts.

Set up on exhibit near the Visitors Center in the old Netzley House along the Riverwalk, all ages were welcomed with two free raffle tickets to vote for their favorite decorated duck. 

Kids enjoyed stuffing the bag for the bubble-blowing duck in the DuPage Children’s Museum blue apron.

This year, the fun-loving folks at St. Patrick’s Residence entered a duck disguised as a nun. And thanks to many faithful voters, the entry from St. Patrick’s Residence received the most tickets to earn bragging rights as the “People’s Choice.”

Second place went to the bubble-blowing entry by DuPage Children’s Museum, followed in third place by the DHJ&J Unicorn.

Jumbo Duck from Colbert Custom Framing floats fastest

The Jumbo Ducks also competed in a separate race, also to earn bragging rights. Colbert Custom Framing & Art Printing came in first.

Duck Tale features WDSRA

WDSRA’s Jumbo Duck promoted the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics!

Earlier this summer, Positively Naperville sponsored the Naperville Municipal Band Concert Raffle Drawing in Central Park on June 20. One of PN’s raffle prizes given to an individual with a winning number in the weekly NMB program was a Jumbo Duck, complete with instructions to enter it in the “Creative Costume Contest” on Aug. 14.

The young man who won the raffle that evening was attending the concert with friends from WDSRA. Yesterday, his adorable Jumbo Duck appeared on exhibit with 20 other ducks in a row, adorned in medals and pinned up with sports buttons to help promote the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics.

The duck’s headband read, “Let me win. But if I can’t win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Slightly soggy at the finish line by the Eagle Street Bridge, the yellow duck with the black blotch on its chest came in first place, sponsored by Colbert Custom Framing.

Until next year’s Riverwalk Duck Race…

For 2019, the Riverwalk Duck Race is a brief memory of the city’s natural treasure that has attracted visitors for 38 years in the heart of downtown Naperville.

Riverwalk Foundation President John Cuff explained that proceeds from the duck race will help fund enhancements, education and other special projects proposed along the Riverwalk to be coordinated via its private/public partnership with the Riverwalk Commission, City of Naperville and the Naperville Park District.

Meanwhile, let wildlife be wild. No matter where in the world, don’t feed the ducks.

“Thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, duck racers and the Naperville Park District crew,” added Cuff.

Where in the world? Thanks to readers who send signs!


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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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