CASA kicks off Duck-O-Ration tour
By Joel Hall
As the day of the Clayton County CASA 11th Annual Darlin' Duck Derby draws near, area businesses have unveiled their entries in the 2009 Duck-O-Ration Contest.
For the next few weeks, uniquely decorated, rubber ducks will make their way to businesses around the county, creating a buzz for the derby, which raises money for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and, ultimately, the prevention of child abuse.
This year's derby will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26, on the grounds of the Historic Clayton County Courthouse, at 121 South McDonough Street in Jonesboro. During the race, thousands of sponsored rubber ducks will vie for a top position at the bottom of a long water slide, with cash prizes and other spoils going to the winning water fowl.
In anticipation of the Duck Derby, two dozen businesses have sponsored one-of-a-kind duck dioramas to represent their businesses in the Duck-O-Ration Contest. Up until the race, the humorous displays will tour local businesses, and people will have a chance to vote on their favorite display, as well as purchase their own ducks to compete on the day of the race.
Clayton County CASA Director Gerald Bostock oversees 200 CASA volunteers, who serve as the eyes and ears of judges presiding over child-abuse and deprivation cases. He said the Duck-O-Ration Contest provides a light and humorous way to raise awareness and funds for a serious cause.
"A lot of people don't want to talk about it [child abuse], but [the Duck-O-Ration Contest] serves as kind of an ice breaker," he said. "Ducks may look peaceful on the surface, but below, they are paddling like hell to survive. That's like some of our kids in the foster system ... they don't choose to be in the system."
The Duck-O-Ration Contest "allows for the community awareness piece, but it also allows us to laugh, while trying to educate the public," he added.
The contest entries made their public debut during "Soup & Quackers," the annual kick-off celebration, which took place on Thursday at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Morrow.
The entries include: a sophisticated duck having a pasta dinner for one; a duck behind a cash register, proclaiming, "Wadd'll ya have!" while wearing a server's uniform from The Varsity; a gardener tending to a patch of miniature 'Cabbage Patch' ducks; and several others.
From Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, the ducks will be displayed at One Rose Florist in Jonesboro. Subsequently, they will be on display at Heritage Bank in Jonesboro (Sept. 4-8), Heritage Cadillac Saab in Morrow (Sept. 9-12), the Clayton State University Library (Sept. 13-17), and two yet-to-be-determined locations, according to CASA organizers.
Sabrina Crawford, co-owner of Heritage Cadillac Saab, also serves as chairman of Friends of Clayton County CASA, an advisory board that raises money for, and brings awareness to, CASA. She said, as of this week, volunteers have sold just over 1,000 ducks to be a part of the Duck Derby. She believes the Duck-O-Ration Contest will help bring CASA closer to its goal of selling 4,000 tickets this year.
"The most important thing for us is to bring awareness [to CASA]," Crawford said. "I think [the Duck-O-Ration Contest is] better this year than ever. This year, there seems to be a lot more creativity. There is a lot more detail. Even with the economy, we're doing a good job with duck sales and sponsorship, because everybody knows what an important event it is."
For more information, call (770) 477-3268, or visit www.ducksrcoming.com.