Buck Creek Festival’s famous duck race to return May 11

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – If you’ve never had the chance to experience the Buck Creek Festival in Helena, the ultimate highlight takes place in the middle of the afternoon on day two of the festival on the banks of the creek.

On Saturday, May 11, hundreds and even thousands of spectators will line the banks of Buck Creek as the creek will quickly turn into a sea of yellow.

If you’re thinking all that yellow is pollen, which is quite common during the time of the festival, that is incorrect, as the yellow represents the thousands of rubber ducks that will be dumped into Buck Creek and descend over the waterfall.

The fan favorite rubber duck race is set to return for another year to the Buck Creek Festival at 3 p.m. on May 11, as it serves as the most significant fundraiser for the festival.

Those unfamiliar to the duck race should plan to arrive at the banks of Buck Creek early to secure a spot as an automatic dumper attached to a pontoon boat will dump thousands of rubber ducks into Buck Creek that’s become a sight worth seeing.

Once the rubber ducks cross the waterfall and make their way down the creek, some important personnel to keep an eye on are the duck wranglers wading in the water.

The wranglers are armed and ready with waders, nets and more as the crew of about 10 volunteers corral the thousands of ducks before they can travel out of sight.

Prior to the festival, anyone is allowed to sponsor a duck to be entered into the race with a chance to win a prize. Duck tickets may be purchased at local Helena businesses including Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, the Helena branch of Regions Bank, Starfish Lane, Oh My Sole or The Petal Cart.

Tickets for the duck race are on sale now and may be purchased individually for $5 or a flock of five ducks may also be purchased.

A flock of ducks consists of five ducks at a cost of $25 that also includes a Buck Creek Festival T-shirt showing off the latest festival logo.

The lucky person whose duck crosses the finish line first will win $500, followed by $250 and $100 for second and third place.

Last year’s Buck Creek Festival was the most successful to date, as the leftover proceeds from the duck race benefitted the Helena High School Band Boosters. The 2018 duck race raised $14,270 to help support the program.