The thousand dollar ducky: Fiesta Days fundraiser supports the Spanish Fork community

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The Adopt-a-Duck race raises funds for the Spanish Fork Fire Department’s philanthropical endeavors. (Photo by Greg Bennett/UV360)

A Spanish Fork rubber ducky will win $1,000 for its adoptive parent. That’s one lucky duck.

Spanish Fork Fiesta Days will host the Adopt-a-Duck race July 24 at 2 p.m. to raise funds for the Spanish Fork Fire Department’s charity ventures.

“We give more money away than we take,” said Brent Jarvis, Spanish Fork Fire Chief.

The fire department sells 2,000 ducks for the big fundraiser, and anyone can enter by purchasing a rubber duck for $5. The adoptive parent of the fastest duck wins $1,000. The second, third and fourth place ducks win $500, $300 and $200 respectively for their adoptive parents. The last duck to complete the race wins $100.

Ducks race from the Main Street Bride to the West Park River Bridge in Spanish Fork. Along the way, firefighters watch the ducks and help the ones caught in brambles and thickets. “‘Duck herders’ is what we call them,” Jarvis said.

Children’s race

Children ages 12 and under can enter the smaller duck race by purchasing a $1 duck. This race begins at 2 p.m. as well, but it finishes earlier than the big race.

For the children’s race, ducks begin at the Sports Park footbridge and float to the catch basin downstream. The first place duck receives a grand cash prize, but other random duck contestants will win prizes as well.

The purpose of this race is to give children the opportunity to make some money as opposed to raising money for other charity events, says Jarvis.

How to adopt a duck

Winners do not have to attend the race to win. In fact, those who wish to adopt a rubber floating friend may invest in a duck now. Duck sales began July 1. Potential ducky parents may adopt at a variety of places and times:

  • Spanish Fork fire station
    • Thursdays from 7-8 p.m.
    • July 24 from 9 a.m. to noon
  • The corner of Center and Main Streets in Spanish Fork
    • July 15 and 20-22 from 7-10 p.m.
  • Spanish Fork volunteer firefighters
    • Anytime

Supporting the Community

After the prize money is distributed from both races, the fire department has about $4,000 dollars left to help the community. At Christmastime, the fire department uses most of the Adopt-a-Duck funds to help Spanish Fork families who are behind on utility bills. The firefighters bring the money to the city office in November and let the city distribute it to the families who need it most, so it’s anonymous, says Jarvis.

Funds also go to sponsor Spanish Fork teens going to American Legion Auxiliary Girls State and Boys State. Funds also support the Payson Car Show, who donates to Sub4Santa, Jarvis says.

For 13 years, the Spanish Fork firefighter community has hosted the Adopt-a-Duck race, but the fire department has given service and organized fundraisers for about 108 years.

“It’s a tradition that we have always supported the community,” Jarvis said.

Spanish Fork Fiesta Days

Adopt-a-Duck is a part of Spanish Fork’s Fiesta Days, which runs from July 15-31. Some favorite activities of Fiesta Days include:

  • Community Theater’s production of “The Little Mermaid”
    • July 20-22, 24, 2729 and 31 at 7 p.m.
  • Fiesta Days Rodeo
    • July 20-22, 24 at 8 p.m.
  • Car Show
    • July 22 at 9 a.m.
  • Sunday Night in the Park
    • July 23 at 7 p.m.

For a full calendar of events, visit the Spanish Fork city website. 

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