RiverFest and Duck Race to splash down


Linda Togeleiro of Beacon Falls holds her granddaughter, Aaliyah, as she watches the rubber ducks race downstream during last year’s RiverFest and Duck Race.

BEACON FALLS — Beacon Falls will be quacking the first weekend in October as the annual RiverFest and Duck Race returns for its 13th year.

Sponsored by the Lion and Lioness Clubs of Beacon Falls, the festival brings together local merchants, community leaders, and civic organizations and will feature music, food, crafts, and games.

“It just promises to be a really fun day for everybody,” said Sue Mis, vice president of the Lioness Club.

The festivities will be held at Volunteer Park behind the fire house and senior center beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The highlight of the day is the annual duck race with launch set for 4 p.m. Organizers will release 1,500 rubber ducks from the bottom of the timber stairs. Tickets for ducks will be on sale until 3:30 p.m. for $5 each the day of the race. People may also purchase them in advance from local merchants and Lion and Lioness Club members. Proceeds will benefit the Lion and Lioness Club charities.

The duck race usually earns the Lion’s Club between $6,000 and $7,000, according to Gail Fredericks, secretary for the Lioness Club.

Fredericks said most of the festival’s participants, besides commercial vendors, are donating profits to charity.

“Most everybody is looking to help out,” Fredricks said.

The owner of the first duck to reach the finish line will receive $1,000. Other prizes include an Apple iPad2, a $300 and baskets of gift cards from local merchants, and an Amazon Kindle.

The festival will feature a variety of crafters this year, including jewelry, face painting, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, doggy jackets, blankets, knitters, and hair wraps, according to Mis.

The Lioness Club will once again hold a cookie waddle. Lioness Club members will bake around 10 dozen of one kind of cookie and patrons can chose their own assortment of a dozen cookies.

“It always goes over quite big,” Fredericks said.

New this year, is a goods and services silent auction, with items such as a weekend at a beach house in Rhode Island, original art by a local artist, a handmade quilt, and tickets to a University of Connecticut men’s basketball game up for bid.

“I’m kind of excited to see what kind of turnout we get,” said Fredricks. “I hope it brings in a lot of money because truthfully, it’s going to be needed.”

Along with the revelry, Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 will be on hand with demonstrations of fire equipment and fire safety techniques, according to fire company spokesman Jeremy Rodorigo.

At 2 p.m., the firefighters and ambulance will conduct a live demonstration of a car accident complete with an extrication using the ‘jaws of life’. Firefighters will also conduct a grease fire demonstration and show what happens when you put water on a grease fire.

“It actually makes it much, much worse,” Rodorigo said.

Beacon Falls’ fire equipment will also be on display for guests to explore the ambulance, fire trucks, and other equipment available in the community.

“Some people don’t know what they have,” Rodorigo said.

Throughout the day, attendees can vote on their favorite ducks from the Beacon Falls Public Library’s paint-a-duck contest. About 20 ducks have been on display in the library’s hallway since the end of August. Anybody can vote by contributing money to their favorite duck.

“It’s almost like a little auction,” said Marsha Durley, the library’s director. “The people who are passionate about their particular duck, they really want to see their duck win.”

The winners in each category, for artists under 10 years old and duck-painters over 10, will be announced around 3 p.m.

“The kids are all excited to see how their duck is doing,” Durley said.

This is the first time the Friends of the Beacon Falls Library have held the duck-painting contest, but they hope to make it an annual event. The money raised in the contest will go to the library.