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Rubber Duckie Race rings in the Fourth in Meredith



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Duckies make their way into Meredith Bay. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
July 07, 2010
MEREDITH — The falls at Mill Falls flowed with little yellow duckies for another year during the Meredith Lion's annual Rubber Duckie Race.

Thousands gathered at Mill Falls and across the bridge to Meredith Bay to watch the rapid descent of the ducks down the falls and their slow float through the channel into Meredith Bay.

People of all ages waved signs for their ducks and many had plastic quakers and yellow t-shirts.

The thousands of numbered ducks were the stars of the show with the first reaching the line at Meredith Bay worth $1,000 for its ticket holder.

This is the Meredith Lions' biggest fundraiser. The Lions Club sold 3,455 ducks this year, a slight drop from last year's nearly 3,800.

"It was a steady flow of ticket purchases throughout the day," said Lion Dick Fleming, the event's emcee.

All funds raised goes toward Lion's Club projects such as the purchase of glasses and hearing aids for those in need, local scholarships, a room at David's House at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, the Inter-Lakes Christmas Fund, and other initiatives.

Before the ducks went down the stream, a board had to be pulled at the Mill Falls dam to get a steady rush of water. The falls during the day were at a trickle, which would not have allowed the ducks to flow down. Fleming said a board was pulled shortly before the ducks were dropped to create that momentum.

Around 4 p.m., a mass of ducks dropped down the falls before coming to a float in the canal leading to Meredith Bay.

Lion Kim Kortz and Lion Bob Maney stood in the water by Mill Falls and helped corral the ducks through the stream.

The ducks then floated into the lake, with the first ducks slowly floating toward the end line and drawing many cheers for them to move forward.

King Lion Naomi Strickland and Lion Mari Yaeger with help from Terri Folsom then collected the first ducks and put them in a special box to determine how they finished.

The top 28 ducks won prizes leading up to the grand prize duck worth $1,000.

The top prize of $1,000 went to D. Morin of South Hamilton, Mass. Morin's duck slowly traveled toward the finish line to be picked up.

Second place of $500 went to Jessie Foley of Center Harbor. Pat Wade of Meredith won third place with $400. Fourth place and $300 went to Shannon Gaffney of Laconia. Jason Swain of Winchester, Mass. won fifth place and picked up a check for $200.

The first 18 winners received $25 gift certificates to businesses such as Innisfree Bookstore, Waterfall Café, the Meredith Center Store, Mames, Kevin's Café, Miss Print, the Common Man, Hart's Turkey Farm, Dockside Florist, Annallee Dolls, Giuseppes, and Bootleggers. Higher prizes included two $50 gift certificates to E.M. Heath's, a $100 gift certificate to Zelek and Associates, and sixth place received a $100 gift certificate to Hearing Enhancement Centers.

Most of the winners were from New Hampshire with a number of local winners from Meredith, Center Harbor, Moultonboro, Laconia, and Belmont. Inners also came from Massachusetts and Connecticut.

"The weather certainly was perfect," Fleming said. "Everybody seemed happy. We're just waiting for the fireworks now."

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