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Duck Derby funds earmarked for relief

Duck derby participants will be racing for a different causethis year.

Following Hurricane Katrina, proceeds from this year’s King’sDaughters Foundation Duck Derby will go to helping local hurricanerelief efforts, said JoAnna Sproles, foundation spokeswoman. Thisis the fifth year for the event, which will be held Sept. 24 onSouth Railroad Avenue during the 31st Annual Ole BrookFestival.

Previous years’ proceeds, which have generated between $24,000and $40,000 a year, have been used for hospitalwide improvements.With the hurricane’s impact, Sproles said it is difficult to thinkof raising funds for any other purpose and she was hopeful thisyear’s derby would proceed record-breaking proceeds.

“We hope everybody who adopts a duck will find comfort inknowing they are contributing to something much bigger than onehospital,” Sproles said during a Wednesday news conference.

Individual duck adoptions are $6 each. Other adoption optionsinclude a “Quack Pack” of five ducks for $25, a “Flight” of 10ducks for $50 and a “Flock” of 20 ducks for $100.

Duck adoptions are tax-deductible and can be made by calling(601) 835-9366. Adoptions may also be made during the festival, butderby organizers encourage them to be made before hand.

The person who adopts the winning duck will receive a 2005 FordFocus, sponsored in partnership with Sullivan Ford, Lincoln,Mercury, Mazda.

Second place will have his or her choice of either a seven-nightcruise for two or $2,500, and third place will receive $1,000. Theadopter of the Dilly Dally Duck, the last one to cross the finishline, will receive a one-year membership to King’s DaughtersFitness Center.

Sproles said details about how derby proceeds will be spent willbe revealed later. She said organizers had spoken with city andcounty officials about the best use of the funds, and she indicatedthey may not be limited to shelter relief.

“We’re going to be open-minded to those who’ve taken in evacueesand try to help them as well,” Sproles said.

Sproles said derby sponsors are also excited about the change inthe funding focus.

“We’re getting a lot of positive response from them,” Sprolessaid.

Also, Sproles said Quacky, the derby’s mascot, will be going toshelters to visit with children and evacuees.

“He’s going to have his own mission in the next couple of weeksbefore joining us for the Duck Derby,” Sproles said.