Biz Buzz: Annual greenbelt duck race gets underway this weekend
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Duck race organizers hoping to raise $60,000 for development of new park
IDAHO FALLS – The Idaho Falls Rotary Club is gearing up for the 29th annual Great Snake River Greenbelt Duck Race this weekend.
This event gets bigger every year and helps raise funds for improvement projects along the greenbelt (Idaho Falls River Walk) and throughout downtown.
Kevin Call, the event chairman, tells EastIdahoNews.com the two-day event will feature 18 different activities, including a few new ones.
“The (Idaho National Laboratory) is one of the new ones this year. They’re going to have a big display of (some of their new innovations), including an electric car, a SWAT vehicle — and some other neat stuff they’ve got will be there,” says Call.
Fire crews from the Idaho Falls Fire Department will repel off a three story mobile training tower and provide training to those in attendance.
Those activities will take place on Saturday, but the event will kick off Friday, Aug. 9, with a classic car cruise night. Drivers will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Snake River Landing for instructions and registration. They will cruise through Snake River Landing and downtown Idaho Falls. The cruise will end at Idaho Falls Cars & Trucks on Broadway where Sam’s Club will provide dinner. The 40 Something band will entertain guests. This event is free and open to the public.
Saturday’s events begin at 10 a.m. The Snake River Speedboats, classic cars, Home Depot Build It Center, Ping Pong Fling, and Helicopter Candy Bomber Parachute Drops are returning events happening throughout the day.
The duck race will begin at 4 p.m. behind the Ritz Hotel on Lindsay Boulevard. Eighteen thousand ducks will be dropped from a dumpster into the Snake River and will race to the bottom of the falls. Local businesses have donated prizes for the winners.
The grand prize is a 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sahara, donated by Idaho Falls Cars & Trucks. The first-place prize is a 2019 Polaris 900 RZR Trail, donated by Idaho Central Credit Union. Other prizes include a $1,000 fuel card to KJ’s Super Stores, a $1,500 dining package valid at six different restaurants, two season golf passes at three different golf courses and more.
Organizers will combine the proceeds from the last three years toward the development of Heritage Park at the south end of Snake River Landing, across Sunnyside Road from Ryder Park.
“It’s a gorgeous setting right on the river,” Call says.
Ground was broken on the park in April 2018. It was donated by the Stafford and Woody Smith families, along with other private and nonprofit partners, including Snake River Landing and Ball Ventures, the Rotary Club of Idaho Falls as well as the owners of the Jackson Hole Junction Commercial Center.
Call says a giant amphitheater is in the works and signs will be posted showcasing the history of Idaho Falls. The park will also include an expansion of the River Walk, hiking and biking trails, a nature-themed playground area, an interactive stream designed for kids to play in and other features.
“The No. 1 thing (people like about Idaho Falls) is the greenbelt,” Call says. “We’ve got bicycle trails all the way around now. You can ride from Ammon on a bike and get on the greenbelt. This (new park) will be part of that greenbelt experience, and it’s beautiful.”
The park is slated for completion in September 2020.
Over the years, the duck race has generated more than $5.5 million for improvements and expansion of Idaho Falls’ greenbelt. The city received matching grants and leveraged that money to triple the amount.
“The duck race has become one of the largest events in Idaho Falls, second only to the Independence Day celebrations,” Rotary Club member Kerry Hammon says in a news release. “As with many events, there is a tremendous amount of planning, organizing and community support that makes it all possible. To each and every person that steps up to the plate every year to provide our community with great events, we give you a tremendous amount of gratitude.”
The rotary is hoping to raise $60,000 from this year’s event.
Ducks are $5 apiece or $25 for six ducks. You can adopt a duck online or at Idaho Falls Cars & Trucks, Idaho Central Credit Union, Idaho Falls Visitor’s Center, Blacker’s or Pinecrest Golf Course.
Click here for a complete schedule of duck race events.
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