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Cultural Events

Newtown Lions Duck Race Canceled; Supporters & Others Continue Contributions



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The Newtown Lions Club has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Great Pootatuck Duck Race due to the continuing risk and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club had already postponed the popular community event in Sandy Hook Center from May 30 to September 5 but, like the organizers of many other events, recently determined that the possible risk to public health compels the cancelation.

Lions Duck Race chair Bob Schmidt said the cancellation was “a difficult decision.”

The club was “very excited about our plans for a special 20th anniversary Duck Race,” Schmidt added. “The event itself is always great fun for families and singles and would have been a wonderful celebration of the end of the pandemic, if only that could have been assured, not to mention an important fundraiser for Lions’ charities.”

The Duck Race is an important source of funds to support the local community, raising more than $200,000 in its 20-year history. This year, fundraising focused on support for continuing the Newtown/Sandy Hook recovery, including mental health services. The loss of duck race ticket sales and donations poses a hardship for agencies accustomed to Lions support.

There is a silver lining, however.

The following local businesses have made generous donations to the Lions as part of a new Proud Supporter Program: Eversource, Impact Business Technologies, and Village Eye Care as “Gold Supporters”; and Caraluzzi’s Newtown Market, Dental Associates, Christine Fairchild (Coldwell Banker), Flint Ridge Development, Kovacs Construction Corp, Miltan Management Corp, Robert Morey (REMAX), and Relocation Consultants as “Silver Supporters.”

These businesses immediately confirmed that their 2020 donations should be distributed as planned.

Schmidt also praised businesses and private donors who donated raffle prizes, which will be carried forward to the 2021 Duck Race. They include Berkshire Motors, Big Y, Blue Colony Diner, Burgerittoville, Carminuccio’s Pizza & Subs, Cover Two Sports Café, Edmond Town Hall Movies, Farmhouse Restaurant, Figs Wood Fired Bistro, Fun Kuts, NYA Sports & Fitness Center, The Little Theatre of Newtown, Lucas Local Oyster Bar, Market Place, My Place Restaurant, Nassar’s Hair Salon, The Newtown Bee, Nouveau Monde Wine Bar, Pizza Palace, Porco’s Karate Academy, Sabrina Style, Sal e Pepe, Sandy Hook Diner, Superior Cleaners, Tambascio’s Italian Grill, Toy Tree, and The Villa Restaurant.

Mustang Raffle Challenges

The Duck Race cancellation is not the only COVID-related challenge to the Lions’ annual fundraising goals. The pandemic has also deeply affected sales for the 2020 Newtown Lions Club Annual Vintage Mustang Raffle.

Traditionally, raffle tickets have been sold at fairs and festivals throughout the state and in New York, but these venues have been closed by the pandemic.

Ticket sales are continuing, however, with tickets available online at newtownlions.org and also from individual club members.

Tickets are $10 each, and the drawing is scheduled for 1 pm Saturday, October 17, at Edmond Town Hall.

This year’s car is a candy apple red 1966 Mustang convertible, with a white top and red and white “Pony” interior. Visit the club’s website for additional vehicle details.

Gary Frey, chair of the Mustang Raffle, is cautiously optimistic that online and member sales will raise sufficient funds to enable the club to provide at least some support for many if not all of the approximately 80 causes the club benefits.

Newtown Lions President Oscar De Los Santos notes that the community has always generously supported the efforts by Newtown Lions to provide financial support to dozens of local, national, and even worldwide causes.

“These are extremely challenging times, and it is more than difficult to imagine cutting back on our distributions,” De Los Santos said. “Instead, we are hopeful that donations and online Mustang sales will once again be a measure of the community’s appreciation of the work we do to support worthy causes.”

Donations may be made to The Newtown Lions Foundation, designated to the Newtown/Sandy Hook Recovery Fund or general, via newtownlions.org. Checks can be mailed to Newtown Lions Club, PO Box 218, Newtown CT 06470.

Newtown Lions Club has formally announced the cancellation of the 2020 Great Pootatuck Duck Race. Already postponed from May, the 20th annual event will not happen due to continued COVID-19 concerns, organizers said. Opportunities to help the club with its annual outreach are still in place, however. —Bob Schmidt photo
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