UPDATED: Aug. 30, 2016
Every year it seems just like something out of a dream. As many as 10,000 tiny rubber ducks take over the Blue River in the heart of Breckenridge, transforming the landscape to a sea of yellow. Thousands of spectators line the banks of the river, willing their little ducks to move downstream as fast as possible in a race that has become the biggest annual fundraiser for The Summit Foundation–the Great Rubber Duck Races on Sept. 3, 2016.
Now in its 29th year, The Great Rubber Duck Race, presented by Breckenridge Grand Vacations, has become a must-see event for both locals and visitors and the best part is that everyone who buys a tiny rubber duck enters the race for some serious prizes, including a week-long vacation at a destination chosen by the winner.
The Summit Foundation is a big part of the heart and soul of our mountain community and is the leading philanthropic organization that fosters the values we hold dear like health service, education and scholarships, arts and environmental stewardship.
You can go online to purchase your race-ready ducks or you can pick one (or more!) up at various locations throughout town, like FirstBank and City Market. Given the race is pretty much a game of luck why not increase your odds of winning? While individual ducks can be purchased for just $5, a Six Quack will run you $25, a Bakers Dozen of 13 ducks is $50 and a Golden Flock including 26 ducks costs $100.
In addition to the Great Rubber Duck Race there are also a few additional races worth mentioning. The Hudson Auto Source Kids Duck Dash will begin at 1 pm where some 750 ducks will be dropped into the Blue River for a mini-swim from the bridge on Adams Street. Entry into the Kids Duck Dash is $10 per duck and more than 40 prizes for the kids race are being donated by Peak-A-Boo Toys, Vail Resorts Echo, and other businesses. Even if you don’t win, kids will get to take home their ducks which come in several costume options, perfect for bathtubs everywhere. The Kids Duck Dash always sells out.
Then come the big ducks for the FirstBank of Summit County Business Battle Duck Race at 2 pm. Given this race is capped off at 300 entries the odds are better and the stakes are just as big with a variety of group and team-building prizes. Businesses are also encouraged to decorate their ducks so the race also becomes a creativity competition as well.
The crowds start to swell as time creeps closer to the 3 pm hour where some 10,000 yellow rubber ducks take the plunge in Maggie Pond and start their journey down the Blue River towards the Riverwalk Center. You’ll be one lucky ducky if your little swimmer makes it down the river in the fastest time and prizes will be awarded to a minimum of the top 50 ducks that cross the finish line….even a prize for the slowest duck.
The Blue River Plaza will be a hub of family-friendly activity on Saturday, Sept. 5, so make sure you get your ducks in a row and purchase them in advance. It’s all part of the biggest fundraiser for the Summit Foundation and, who knows, your little rubber duck could even win you a trip to Mexico.
Also over Labor Day weekend, it’s a great time to shop with Sidewalk Sale Days (through Monday). Pick up summer clearance items including bikes, technical outerwear, cute ladies’ dresses and handmade kids’ clothing from more than 50 participating merchants. The Great Divide Arts Festival (through Monday) features more than 100 artists. And the Breckenridge Sunday Market (9a-2p Sunday) offers crafts and a selection of regional food items. Visit GoBreck.com for more information on the family-friendly events going on all weekend in Breck and last-minute lodging opportunities.