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Hibernation Over, Duck Race Tickets Now On Sale

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Thousands of numbered yellow rubber ducks are out of hibernation and getting ready to race in the 2021 Newtown Lions Club Great Pootatuck Duck Race on Saturday, September 4.

The full event will run from 11 am to 3 pm. The ducks had been hibernating since being scooped out of the river after the May 2019 race. They stayed in storage all last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now they are out and Lions Club members are busy grooming and sorting them. Members will account for every numbered duck, from 0001 to 3500, before their big dive and race as the headliner event for Labor Day weekend in Newtown, a celebration for the whole community after the trials of the pandemic.

Duck adoption tickets went on sale the first weekend of June. Tickets remain $5 each.

Supporters holding tickets for the first 20 ducks to reach the finish line will win an assortment of prizes, beginning with a $2,000 first prize.

Tickets will be available at supporting local businesses, including weekly sales on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings each weekend until the one before Labor Day weekend.

This weekend, members of Newtown Lions Club are scheduled to be at Franco’s Pizza (Sand Hill Plaza, 228 South Main Street) and Pizza Palace (54 Church Hill Road) on Friday, June 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm; and outside Newtown Hardware (61 Church Hill Road), on Saturday, June 12, from 9 am until 1 pm, for in-person sales.

Next’s weekend’s schedule is 5 to 7 pm outside Yankee Wine & Spirits (Queen Street Shopping Center, 6 Queen Street) and Hawleyville Liquor Store (Barnabas Plaza, 23 Barnabas Road) on Friday, June 18; and then outside Butcher’s Best Market (Highland Plaza, 123 South Main Street) on Saturday, June 19, from 10 am until 2 pm.

Additional ticket sales venues, dates, and times are available at the Newtown Lions Club (CT) Facebook page.

Race Day Details

Festivities on September 4 will begin in historic Sandy Hook Center at 11 am and end at 3 pm, with the culminating duck dive at 2:30 pm from the Church Hill Road bridge over the Pootatuck River.

As always, the family-focused party will include entertainment for all ages plus vendors and exhibits, all carefully selected and located to comply with pandemic protocols.

Local organizations interested in vendor and exhibit space should contact Duck Race Chair Bob Schmidt at serenitysh@yahoo.com or 203-426-1222.

In its 19 previous years, the race has raised more than $200,000 for local charities. Although the Lions Club most wants this year’s event to be a fun community celebration, funds raised are also essential to help many cash-strapped local charities.

Newtown Lions Club members have begun sorting every duck in the club’s inventory, making sure each of the 3,500 rubber ducks is ready for September’s Great Pootatuck Duck Race. Shown during a recent sorting event, clockwise from lower left, are Barb Manville, Peggy Fillion, Katherine Simpson, and Gary Fillion. —Newtown Lions Club photo
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