Duck Day and Race to take over downtown Naugatuck

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Thousands of rubber ducks are dumped off the Whittemore Bridge in Naugatuck to start last year’s duck race. The 7th Annual Naugatuck River Duck Day and Race will be held June 3. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — Ready. Set. Duck.

The 7th Annual Naugatuck River Duck Day and Race is set to take place on Sunday, June 3.

“It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together, support the local business community and emphasize the importance of the Naugatuck River,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said.

According to Courtney Ligi, the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce’s events and social media director, the turnout for the event is expected to be between 3,000 and 5,000 people, which is on average with the previous years.

This year’s festival will include two new events — a costume contest and a dunk tank.

The costume contest, known as Halloween in June, is a free event for people of all ages with the chance to win prizes.

The categories for the costume contest are pre-kindergarten and under, kindergarten through eighth grade, ninth through 12th grade, adults 18 and over, and the best duck costume. The costumes will be judged on creativity, originality, and presentation.

Festival goers will also have the chance to dunk people in a giant dunk tank.

The people who have volunteered to get dunked during the festival are Naugatuck Savings Bank’s Chief Financial Officer Dave Rotatori, Tax Collector Jim Goggin, Naugatuck High School Principal Janice Saam, and Naugatuck High School teachers Christine Gamari, Kathy Guglielmo, Tim Walsh, John Carino, and Chip Aldrich.

The festival will also feature music by Naugatuck’s own Rubber City Blues Band, which played at last year’s Duck Day, and the Kathy Thompson Band from Milford.

The highlight of the day, which the festival revolves around, is the duck race.

Thousands of yellow rubber ducks are dumped into the Naugatuck River from the Maple Street bridge. Each duck has a number on it, and a corresponding raffle ticket. The first 25 ducks to cross the finish line are the winners.

Prizes this year include $5,000 cash, a 2-carat diamond white gold tennis bracelet, Sony 40-inch Class LED 1080p HDTV, and a $500 gift certificate redeemable at Brass Mill Center and Commons.

Tickets cost $5 each and can be purchased from Corso Printing & Engraving, Nardelli’s, Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce, Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan, Waterbury Chamber of Commerce, or from one of the numerous charity organizations that sells the raffle tickets.

Every nonprofit organization selling tickets receives half of the proceeds from the tickets they sell.

Ligi explained the duck race has given back to more than 80 charities and donated over $250,000.

For a full list of participating organizations, visit www.duckday.org.

With Duck Day just a couple of weeks away, Ligi and Mezzo encouraged everyone to come out and enjoy this year’s festivities.

“It’s a family fun-filled day, with lots of free activities for all age ranges,” Ligi said.

Mezzo added, “The best part of the day is the smiles on children’s faces. It provides lots of opportunities for families to come together and enjoy a day in downtown Naugatuck.”

The festivities begin at 11 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. The duck race is scheduled to go off at 2 p.m.