Duck and Turtle Regatta coming soon

By Karen Holbrook - For The Tribune

The Elkin Valley Trails Association already is selling tickets for one of its most popular fundraisers. On Sept. 26, at the end of the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival, the EVTA will release hundreds of sponsored rubber duckies and turtles into Elkin Creek for the chance to win prizes.

“We’re already selling the tickets,” said EVTA Governing Board member Bob Hillyer. “They’re available through the merchants downtown, we have a booth at the farmers market, any Rotary Club member or through EVTA personnel or the website.”

The idea behind the fundraiser began more than 20 years ago, according to Hillyer. The Foothills Nature Science Society once sponsored a Ducky Derby that turned out to be the launching board for what is now the Duck and Turtle Regatta. “It’s a nice improvement,” said Hillyer, who is a fan of how organized the event has become.

On Sept. 26, once the Pumpkin Festival has begun to wind down, members of the EVTA, along with local Boy Scout troops and community volunteers, will launch rubber duckies and turtles into the creek at the Elk Spur Street Bridge above the Elkin Public Library. Each duck or turtle will have a number assigned to its sponsor ahead of time.

Once the ducks and turtles are placed in the water, adults and children line the banks to watch them coast down stream, eagerly anticipating the announcing of winners. As they float along, the ducks and turtles will head towards the West Main Street Bridge, over the dam behind the library, where the Boy Scouts will fish them out with nets, setting the first 15 or so aside as prize winners.

“It’s a pretty good fundraiser, it’s fun,” said Hillyer. According to Hillyer, the most fun is watching people try to slant the odds in their favor as they determine which will work best for the conditions. “Some argue the duck will work best with the wind blowing it down stream…. or it could blow it upstream.”

Several prizes already have been donated from the local community, including a 10.5-foot kayak from Yadkin River Adventures, and more continue to come in. So far, along with the first place prize of a kayak, sponsors will be competing for one of three bikes from Walmart and gift cards from various restaurants, Yadkin General Store, Elkin Parks and Recreation Gym, Larson Pottery, Elkin Creek and Round Peak wine tastings, Combs Produce, Tweetsie Railroad and four North Carolina Zoo tickets.

Proceeds from the event are split between the EVTA and Rotary Club, both of which provide services for the local community.

According to Hillyer, the EVTA hopes to have more trails open by next spring, including the implementation of bridge building projects already in the works. “I’ve been so impressed with the people you meet,” said Hillyer of the fellow trail enthusiasts. “The response [from the community] has been wonderful.”

The Sept. 26 Duck and Turtle Regatta will begin at about 5 p.m. as the Pumpkin Festival winds down. Sponsorship for each duck or turtle is $5. The top 20 fastest floating toys to reach the end of the course will be matched to the list of names and the winners will be identified and notified by phone in a matter of days.

For more information on the Duck and Turtle Regatta, visit or stop by the EVTA booth at the Elkin Farmer’s Market on Saturday between 9 a.m. and noon.

By Karen Holbrook

For The Tribune

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