Bring out the ducks:Upcoming race encourages drug-free livelihood for participants

Published 8:33 am Thursday, April 22, 2021

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The Great West Georgia Duck Derby, an annual rubber duck race promoting a drug-free lifestyle, is coming to LaGrange. 

The fundraising event, led by the Calumet Center for Healing and Attachment, focuses on substance use education and awareness and is designed to target families with children, and does so with a unique, fun twist.  The theme of the event is “Don’t be riduckulous! Don’t do drugs!.” 

The event features a myriad of 5,000 ducks that will be dumped and raced in West Point Lake that morning. The winning duck will receive a $2,500 cash prize. 

The first 200 children to check in with their parents at the main event table will receive either their very own rubber duck or a rubber duck call.

CCHA had their first online fundraiser last year called Run for the Roses, an event focused on the Kentucky Derby. Despite being a great success, the center decided because of COVID to re-think what it was doing.

Its goal this year became to identify an event that is closely connected to what it does and what it is inspired to accomplish. Plus, it wanted something that would be fun for the whole family. 

“We decided on a fun event that would help reinforce a happy life would be the best option,” said Kevin Godsen, development director with the Calumet Center for Healing and Attachment. “We happened upon duck racing and thought that the rubber duck was the perfect symbol of childhood and innocence, so after examining similar events throughout the U.S., we thought it was the perfect idea to bring to our wonderful community.” 

The mission of the Calumet Center for Healing and Attachment is to heal families by

empowering women and their children to thrive in recovery. 

“Conversations about drugs in the past typically have focused on the scary results of addiction, which might not help when speaking with children,” Godsen said. 

“We are opening up a positive, upbeat dialogue between parents and kids that focus on how wonderful life can be without drugs.”

Godsen said each of the 5,000 ducks that will race from Highland Pines Marina and Resort will represent one conversation they are hoping to inspire between adults and children.

The free event will be held Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to noon. 

The CCHA will be distributing conversation guides to parents on the day of the event.

Following the event, the guides will be both online and in person at community events throughout the year. 

The center will be asking parents to sign the Don’t Duck the Problem! pledge that says they are committed to having that conversation with their kids.

On Thursdays leading up to the derby, huge inflatable rubber ducks will be placed on lawns throughout the community as part of the event’s Quack Attack contest. 

Each Quack Attack will contain a secret word. Community members who spot the Quack Attack can visit the CCHA Facebook page and participate in a contest to win free entries in the Duck Derby.

On Saturdays leading up to the Derby, the CCHA will be hosting Duck Adoption events at local businesses to allow potential participants an opportunity to stop by and get their entry into the derby. 

Stay tuned to the Calumet Center for Healing and Attachment Facebook page for the schedule.

To adopt a rubber duck for the event, visit