Date set for United Way Duck Derby

Published 8:28 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

The United Way of Prince Edward County’s signature fundraiser, the second annual Great Farmville Duck Derby, is scheduled for Friday, May 3.

The event will be held at Riverside Park in conjunction with the Heart of Virginia Festival. All proceeds will benefit the United Way’s 22 partner organizations.

“Once we get back from Christmas break, it’s going to be duck season,” said Bruce Davis, the United Way board member who originally came up with the idea for the event and is overseeing its planning.

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Last year’s derby brought in approximately $9,000.

Plans call for 2,000 ducks to be sold. Same as last year, owner of the first place duck will receive $1,000; the second-place duck, $500; and the third-place duck, $250.

Tickets for the derby will be sold March through April, Davis said. Promotion for the duck derby will begin in mid-February along with marketing of the Heart of Virginia Festival.

Right now, plans call for the ducks to be released at 6:45 p.m., with the winners announced during a break in the festival’s music.

“Then I can play in the water the rest of the night collecting ducks,” Davis said.

Those interested in sponsorship or purchasing ducks can contact Davis at bruce. or call (804) 986-2034.

The United Way board also hopes that tickets will be sold at events such as the wine festival, and through local businesses, as was done last year.

Publicity efforts will include banners, yard signs, flyers, and radio and newspaper spots.

There are also plans to take a page from the Flamingos in yard fundraisers. With the flamingos, the victim awakes to find a flock of plastic pink lawn flamingos sitting in his or her yard, and must make a donation before they are removed. Same principle, except this time the slogan will be “You’ve been ducked” and the ornaments will be, well, ducks, Davis said.

“We’re hoping it will go from one yard to another, to another, to another,” he said.

This year, the United Way has a goal of raising $60,000 to distribute to 20 partners. Nearly 94 percent of the money the group raises goes to its nonprofit partners, Snead said.

The United Way has helped with everything from paying for swimming lessons at the YMCA, to helping send 4H members to a show.

The United Way’s fundraising kicked off in earnest in October, and efforts are already $9,568.92 ahead of last year this time, said Chris Prengaman, the group’s treasurer.

Board members hope that the United Way will be one of the beneficiaries of end-of-the-year donations, and of those still looking to aid charitable causes in early next year as they look for tax write-offs.

Rucker Snead, the board’s president, said he hopes that in mid to late-January the United Way can conduct the first of its two luncheons where it passes out funds to its partners.

Last year, the United Way gave out $35,000 in its first allocation. This year, he’d like to top that.

“It would be awesome to be able to give out $40,000,” he said.