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The counting of the flock this weekend

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Heritage Cadillac Saab of Morrow, and Clayton County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), want the community to help them get their ducks in a row -- all 4,000 of them.

"The Counting of the Flock" will take place this Sunday, Sept. 21, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the car dealership, located at 7134 Jonesboro Road in Morrow. While the event serves as an important step prior to Clayton County CASA's annual Darlin' Duck Derby, duck counters will be treated to a chili cook-off, food, music, and various door prizes.

"This has been a long-standing tradition, just like the Duck Derby itself," said Gerald Bostock, program coordinator for CASA. "It's actually a work session where we have pulled all of the ducks out of storage. After sitting in storage for a year, they have a bit of an odor to them, so they need a little bit of cleaning up."

After the ducks are cleaned and checked for cracks or defects, all 4,000 ducks are lined up on tables from 1 to 4,000 to make sure that each one is accounted for. Sabrina Crawford, chairperson of Friends of Clayton County CASA and co-owner of Heritage Cadillac Saab, said The Counting of the Flock is a crucial part of the Duck Derby.

The derby, this year, will take place next Saturday in front of the Clayton County Historic Courthouse in Jonesboro.

"Once we make sure all 4,000 ducks are there and the numbers are legible, we actually lock them away in a bin," said Crawford. "It's necessary, because we want to make sure that if a person buys a duck, their duck has a chance to win. There are some pretty substantial prizes and we want to make sure that if a duck crosses the finish line that it was a part of the pool of ducks that was counted."

The person whose rubber duck crosses the finish line first will win $2,000. The duck in second place will win its buyer $1,000 in cash and the third-place duck will win two round-trip Delta Air Lines tickets to anywhere Delta flies in the continental United States.

During the counting, residents are encouraged to bring a pot of their favorite chili to be entered in the Chili Cook-Off, which will take place in conjunction with the counting. The event also will include lots of socializing, and giveaways of items such as CASA T-shirts, Chili's Grill & Bar gift certificates, and hats from Heritage Cadillac Saab.

"We have actually got it down to a fine science over the years," said Bostock. "We try to make it a fun event, because we are asking them to work."