JONESBORO The ducks are coming! The ducks are coming!
Thousands of tiny ducks will be unleashed on the unsuspecting residents of Jonesboro next month. The little guys look somewhat like Ray Charles because they have sunglasses molded into their faces. They have been known to make people scream in the past.
Every time they run through town, a giant man-sized duck dances and quacks in the shadows.
Clayton County CASA Child Welfare Services Coordinator Gerald Bostock said the influx of ducks is to be expected, however, as they usually come to town around this time of year.
“We are now in duck season,” said Bostock.
The tiny feathered fowl are the racing rubber ducks used in Clayton County CASA’s annual Darlin’ Duck Derby fundraiser. They will race again Sept. 29 on the lawn of the Historic Clayton County Courthouse in Jonesboro. This year’s race will mark the 14th time the child advocacy group has held a duck derby, said Gerald Bostock, CASA’s child welfare service coordinator.
While the derby itself lasts only a few minutes, the event will once again be surrounded by a festival-like atmosphere which includes games, vendors and a disc jockey, said Clayton County CASA officials. The derby will last from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., with the race taking place at 1 p.m.
CASA does the derby to raise funds for its programs — the group’s volunteers serve as advocates of young children in the court system — but Bostock said the event is also intended to educate people who attend.
“We do this, first and foremost, to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect,” said Bostock.
Last year’s derby drew hundreds of people to downtown Jonesboro, with every one screaming with delight as they watched the tiny quacklings float down a stream of rapidly moving water.
The winner wins a $2,000 cash prizes and is eligible for a chance to win a 2012 Cadillac SRX — if CASA officials pull the number of the race winning duck in a drawing. The owner of the duck which finishes in second place will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
Individual ducks cost $5 each, but people can also by a “Six Quack” of six ducks for $25.
The racing of the ducks is not the only component of the derby, however. Larger ducks in costumes are on a tour of the county until Sept. 27, as part of CASA’s annual Duck-O-Ration contest. Companies decorate ducks and enter them in the contest. While the ducks are on their tour around the county, residents can vote for their favorite duck and the winner will be announced during a “Very Important Duck” event held for sponsors and contest participants on Sept. 27.
So far, no one has submitted a duck dressed up as a quack, however.
The tour began Monday at the Krispy Kreme, located at 6689 Ga. 85, in Riverdale. They will remain at the restaurant until Thursday, and then move to Heritage Bank, in Jonesboro.
One duck, decorated by One Rose Florist in Jonesboro, has been dressed up to look like the Statue of Liberty. On its pedestal is a scroll which reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your ruffled-feathered flocks yearning to fly free!”
Another duck has been decorated as Mr. T, with a speech bubble which says “I pity the fool!” taped to base board under the duck. There is also a duck in a bathtub; a Sherlock Holmes duck; a Krispy Kreme duck; a Halloween duck and a duck running for president on a platform of “a cracker on every plate and a boat at every dock!”
People who are interested in learning more about the Darlin’ Duck Derby, or who want to order ducks, can go on the Internet and log onto www.ducksrcoming.com, or call CASA at 678-610-1061.