AVOCA – Quack, quack!
That was the sound heard in Avoca last Saturday, a sound that had been silent for the past few years because of COVID-19.
It was the return of the Quack Off duck races, a key fundraiser for the village’s fire department that had attracted thousands in the past.
This year was no different.
“We had a big crowd,” said Tim Goepfert, fire chief. “We’re pretty happy after not having it for a couple of years.”
He estimated a crowd of 2,500 descended upon the village for this year’s event.
“It wasn’t the biggest crowd we’ve ever had, but it wasn’t the smallest, either.”
Most of them came out to simply enjoy the fun, according to Goepfert.
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“We had 257 people registered to race, which is a typical number,” he said.
Some of the participants bring their own ducks to this event, but most are given one right there on the spot, whether it’s a good racer or not, he said.
“It’s sort of the luck of the draw,” Goepfert said.
The ducks that are provided come from a commercial farm in Iowa, he said.
The event lasts about 90 minutes or so, he said.
This is clearly an event whose popularity seems to fly across the country, as evident by this year’s top winners.
Brandon Goodyear of Lincoln won first place with Sheila Day of Malcolm finishing in second place.
The third-place finisher was Emily Carlson, who came in from Medford, Ore., while fourth place went to Shianne Walther from Springfield, Mo.
Trophies were handed out to the winners, Goepfert said.
Most of the money raised from this fundraiser will go into the fire department’s savings account to help replenish what was spent in the last two years when there wasn’t a Quack Off event, Goepfert said.