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Beaver River sees waves of yellow as 2,000 rubber ducks float in Ardmore fundraiser

On June 2, Ardmore School hosted its popular rubber duck race on the Beaver River, fundraising for a variety of causes at the rural school.

ARDMORE – On June 2, Ardmore School hosted its popular rubber duck race on the Beaver River, fundraising for a variety of causes at the rural school. 

Ryan Deschamps, lieutenant at the Ardmore fire hall station, explained that the Ardmore Fire department volunteered to release the ducks and set their fire hose adrift across the beaver river to catch them as they raced downstream.  

Firefighters took boats to the centre of the river to catch and record the winners.  

Principal Marjorie Charles was the emcee for the event and announced that all ducks were accounted for, and that "there will be no mysterious trips to Russia this year" for any of the ducks, like one did a few years ago.

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Fort Kent Fire department also volunteered to deal with traffic control, as the event drew quite a crowd. They kept everyone safe as the crowd piled onto the bridge to watch the ducks float to the finish line. 

The event was packed with activities for the kids including a kids’ tent, scavenger hunt, glitter tattoos, and a dunk tank where they could dunk their favourite adults. 

Ashley Kuzma, chairperson of the duck race and Parent Advisory member, explained that the kids' tent was run by student volunteers.  

“I’m really proud of our school. The big kids look after the little kids. It’s really just a unified school and it’s so nice to see,” says Kuzma.  

She adds the parent involvement is great, and that the event “really has good feet,” which helped it survive through the pandemic, with the help of all the volunteers and sponsors. 

Proceeds from the duck race are used by the Parent Advisory association for things like swimming lessons, classroom supplies, field trips, art programs, educational programs and much more. 

Kindergarten music teacher Camille Cory performed during the event with her band Gypsy Renegade, creating an upbeat and fun atmosphere. 

When the ducks came around the bend and into view, young Kayden Wood-Hope exclaimed “Is this a dream?! There must be a thousand ducks!” and in fact there were 2,000 ducks. 

A fire truck was displayed for visitors to climb inside and view, with many firefighters around to answer questions, hand out some fire department swag, and inspire the next generation of firefighters. 

Deschamps reported, “Both Ardmore and Fort Kent firefighters assisted with setup, fire prevention education, and recruitment... The whole day turned out perfect and was a great way for our teams to connect with the public we serve.” 

He continued, “The Ardmore Fire Department had two long serving members assist with the event. These members have helped with the event almost as long as the duck race has been taking place.” 

Kuzma reports that they have raised over $20,000.

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