By Amanda Hatfield
BREVARD -- Time to get your pretty yellow rubber ducks in a row!
The Great Brevard Duck Race will celebrate its 15th year on Sunday, April 14, at 1 p.m. at Sand Point Park in Titusville.
Duck "adoptions" are still under way across Brevard, with all funds raised benefitting Crosswinds Youth Services.
Crosswinds, a United Way of Brevard County-partner agency, is committed to helping vulnerable young people overcome serious issues, such as homelessness, abuse and neglect.
"During the event, flocks and flocks of yellow rubber duckies, decked out with ultra-cool sunglasses, are dumped into the boat ramp on the banks of the beautiful Indian River Lagoon," said Crosswinds president Jan Lokay. "They race to the finish line to win great prizes for their 'adopters.'"
Participants are welcome to "adopt" as many ducks as they wish. A modest $5 will "adopt" one duck, while a sixth duck is free with a five-duck "Quack Pack" donation.
This year's grand prize is a four-night Bahamian cruise for as many as two guests in one deluxe ocean view stateroom, aboard the Disney Dream.
A highly unique fundraise, the Great Brevard Duck Race has greatly helped Crosswinds in past years.
"We've been able to add more programming for children and youth," said Mrs. Lokay. "Some of the proceeds have gone to help build a children's shelter and the Handley Learning Center."
While the thought of rubber ducks "racing" to the finish line may seem farfetched, the ducks do receive a little assistance.
"Some of the Boy Scouts from Troops No. 726 and No. 307 become 'duck splashers,'" Mrs. Lokay added. "They help to splash the ducks down the finish line."
As the Great Brevard Duck Race prepares to celebrate its 15th year, Crosswinds credits the community for its success.
"The tremendous support from our sponsors and our community, who have a real interest in making Brevard a better place for children, is what keeps this event running, year after year," Mrs. Lokay said. "The duck race is a fun event that reaches out in the community to make people aware of the needs of children in crisis, or youth, who are transitioning into adulthood."
Crosswinds Youth Services was established in 1974 and is located at 1407 Dixon Blvd., Cocoa.
For more information about Crosswinds, call (321) 452-0800 or visit www.crosswindsyouthservices.org.
The 15th annual Great Brevard Duck Race is Sunday, April 14, at 1 p.m. at Sand Point Park in Titusville.
Ducks can be "adopted" up until race day at the following locations: Community Credit Union, Florida Bank of Commerce, Kennedy Space Center Federal Credit Union, Florida Business Bank, Space Coast Credit Union, Sunrise Bank, Florida Community Bank, Fidelity Bank of Florida, Chick-Fil-A Viera, and at select BP and Shell gas stations.
Papa John's in Titusville, Merritt Island and Cocoa will also attach adoption papers to each box of pizza.
Additional prizes include a $500 and two $250 shopping sprees at Dillard's in Merritt Square Mall, a two-night stay at the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort, a two-night stay for two at the International Palms Resort in Cocoa Beach, a full-day and two half-day fishing trips for two, as well as an evening of shark fishing from Obsession Charters Deep Sea Fishing from Port Canaveral and two aerial tours from Servant Air Ministries.
Participants do not need to be present to win.
Adoptions can also be completed by mailing a donation to Crosswinds Youth Services, Inc., 1407 Dixon Blvd., Cocoa.
For more information, or to "adopt" a duck, visit www.duckrace.com/brevard, www.facebook.com/BrevardDuckRace, or follow them on Twitter: @BrevardDuckRace, or call (321) 452-0800.