The annual Duck Dash will splash down in a new location, the Thurston County Fairgrounds, on June 1. In the 13th year of the Lacey Rotary’s main fundraising event, the Duck Dash is slated to be a day of family-friendly activities, raffles, games and attractions, with all event proceeds benefitting non-profits in the South Sound and beyond.

Lacey Rotary Duck Dash 2019 Thurston County Fairgrounds Live Music
The Duck Dash has been an annual event for 30 years and proceeds benefit local charities. Photo courtesy: Lacey Rotary

Geared towards families and kids, the Duck Dash features food, live entertainment and attractions, and traditionally culminates in 12,000 rubber ducks rushing down the Deschutes River, with 30 participants winning a prize. As an event that raises tens of thousands of dollars annually for local non-profits, the Duck Dash is a staple of the South Sound community. After three decades, the dash’s location was forced to change after an oil spill on the now defunct Olympia Brewing Company property contaminated the Deschutes River in Tumwater. Coupled with current construction on Tumwater Falls Park, the Duck Dash’s traditional venue wasn’t a viable option.

Despite the change in location, the rotary plans to uphold many aspects of the traditional event, while also adding new activities to accommodate the larger venue. “It’s going to be at the Thurston County Fairgrounds,” explains Mitch Dietz, public relations director for Lacey Rotary. “At the same time, same date, and same events, except the dash. For the winners, we’re going to draw tickets out of a bingo-style drum. We’ll have 12,000 tickets with the numbers. It was only a month before the event when we decided to change locations. All the events will be the same, we just won’t have 12,000 ducks dropping into the river.”

Lacey Rotary Duck Dash 2019 Thurston County Fairgrounds Bouncing Castles
The dash will still feature a variety of events including face painting, bouncing castles, food and multiple raffles. Photo courtesy: Lacey Rotary

In addition to the large raffle, more new activities will be added to the event, including a petting zoo. “We will have kid’s events, food, a bouncy house, face painting, and a kid’s bike raffle,” says Dietz. “The kids get free raffle tickets, so every kid has a chance at a free bike. The whole day is a lot of fun. We’ll be on the stage and draw numbers at the end.”

The Lacey Rotary is working around the clock to host a day of family fun for local families. At the heart of the Duck Dash is the people and the programs that are served by the event’s proceeds. Because of the annual event, the rotary is able to provide continuous support to over 25 local and international non-profits. “We still need to sell the tickets to sponsor the programs that we support every year,” says Dietz. “The whole point of this event is to raise money to support local organizations and if people don’t come out to that, then, we can’t support them in the same way that we have.”

Lacey Rotary Duck Dash 2019 Thurston County Fairgrounds
The location of the Duck Dash will now be at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy: Lacey Rotary

Money raised from the event will benefit dozens of local non-profits including Lacey Loves to Read, the Olympia Free Clinic, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County, South Sound YMCA Power Scholars, Thurston County Veterans Services, Homeless Backpacks, and the Little Red Schoolhouse.

“The Duck Dash is a great way to support the community,” says Dietz. “A fun, family-friendly kid’s event. It’s free and all the proceeds, if you buy tickets, go back into the community.”

The Duck Dash will be on Saturday, June 1 at the Thurston County Fairgrounds from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free, but raffle tickets will be on sale for $5 each, with proceeds going to local and international non-profits. Raffle tickets can also be purchased before the event at Tumwater Chiropractic, Kluh Jewelers, Detray Manufactured Homes in addition to tables at Haggen’s on the Westside on May 18 and at the Lowes in Lacey on May 25, both from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. To learn more about the event, visit the Lacey Rotary Facebook Event.

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