Duck Day Great weather for the duck race
This Saturday’s Waipawa Spring Festival — Duck Day — hosts the premiere race on the Duck Racing calendar, and with the day fast approaching local duck trainers say the field is looking better than it ever has.
While giving nothing away about their training methods, trainers have confirmed the ducks are in fantastic condition leading up to the race, with recent flooding in the region having been “great weather for ducks” and higher river levels and faster flows ideal for strength and speed work.
This year’s course — prepared to perfection by Higgins contractors — has drawn an even larger field than last year, with 1500 ducks entered.
This has delighted organisers who say they have had issues with running out of ducks in previous years, due to the high demand.
This year’s event has also attracted extra prize money with the winner claiming $300, second place $200 and $50 for third — and last place.
At this stage there are still a few ducks available — including several race favourites — and tickets can be purchased at Waipawa Butchery, Waipawa Fish Supply, Waipawa Pharmacy and Kingfisher Gifts for $2 each, with proceeds going to Ronald MacDonald House.
For the first time in Duck Race history, there is a new event — the Corporate Duck Race just before the 1.30pm main event, with businesses having decorated their own oversized racing ducks. This is bound to be hotly contested, with the pride of several local businesses riding on these ducks’ backs.
To launch the carnival atmosphere, Waipawa’s main street, Nellie Jull Park and Centre-Court will be bristling with stalls and entertainment from 9am onwards.
The promise of a good crowd has drawn stallholders from far and wide, with offerings of plants and produce, food and drinks, bargains, gifts and curiosities. There’s entertainment for the children, with a new and spectacular Cinderella Pumpkin bouncy castle, and the Lions Club will be cranking up the Westpac barbecue and searing sausages as fast as they can fry.
In a twist this year, Adam from The Hits radio station will be at Duck Day and will provide a real-time on site commentary of the race itself, while live music will be delivered by reggae band Heavy Roots.
Old favourites on the day include the Make a Duck competition for children aged two to 16.
■ The Waipawa Spring Festival Duck Day, Waipawa CBD, Saturday October 13
Duck Race: Tukituki River 1.30pm
Spectators watch as ducks race for the finish line at the Waipawa Spring Festival.