Thousands of ducks will soon be flocking to the Kingsport Aquatic Center! The colorful yellow rubber ducks will float the lazy river as spectators cheer them along in the hopes that one of the ducks plucked from the water has their number on it for the $2,500 grand prize.
Getting their ducks in a row for the second annual Dancing, Dining & Ducks fundraiser on July 28, the Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center (MRSHC) in Kingsport invites the community to take part in this special event.
A non-profit organization, the center was founded in 1974 by the Junior League Club and Sertoma Club of Kingsport. The Sertoma Club still actively supports MRSHC, providing financial support as well as volunteers for the fundraiser. The center helps many residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia with speech, language, hearing and swallowing disorders. Services are rendered regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.
“That means that if people come in here and meet the poverty guidelines based on income, some get 100 percent free services; some less,” explained Karen Dale, finance manager and special events coordinator. The majority of patients are children with speech issues, but the staff also assists adults with hearing aids, swallowing difficulties, etc.
All proceeds from the Dancing, Dining & Ducks fundraiser benefit the center.
Karen said she has numbered 3,000 ducks for the event so far. Last year, 5,000 rubber ducks were donated for the fundraiser and around 2,500 were actually sponsored.
“I would love to sell all 5,000 ducks this year!” she said.
The ducks will make quite a splash as they enter the lazy river. “We dump all the ducks in and they circulate around the river really fast; they fly!” Karen laughed. “We let the ducks float around for 30 minutes or so, and then the emcee will draw out 10 ducks randomly. The first duck drawn is the $2,500 grand prize winner,” she explained.
The master of ceremonies will be News Anchor Preston Ayres of WCYB-TV. In addition to the $2,500 grand prize, nine other coveted prizes include a two-night stay at Oak Haven Spa Cabins in Pigeon Forge; one ChickFilA meal per week for an entire year; a 2019 Family Splash Pack at the Kingsport Aquatic Center; one night at the MeadowView Marriott with breakfast for two; two Barter Theatre tickets; two tickets to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough; dinner for four at Aubrey’s restaurant along with four Pinnacle movie tickets; four passes to Cleek Farms; and six tickets to Symphony of the Mountains.
How can you win these awesome prizes? “The more ducks you sponsor, the greater the chances to win,” Karen explained.
Several sponsor purchase options are available: One duck for $5; two ducks for $10; three ducks for $15, four ducks for $20; a ‘Quackpack’ - six ducks for $25; a ‘Gaggle’ - 12 ducks for $50; a ‘Flock’ - 25 ducks for $100 or a ‘KptCentennial’ pack - 100 ducks for $375.
Another unique way to sponsor a duck is to be one of the lucky ones to find a ‘lucky duck rock.’ Over 75 rocks painted black with yellow ducks on them have been strategically placed around Kingsport. If you find one of these rocks, bring it in to Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center, located at 301 Lewis Street in Kingsport, and you will receive two free duck entries! You must be 18 to win.
The Dancing, Dining & Ducks event will be held at the Kingsport Aquatic Center at 1820 Meadowview Parkway on July 28 at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend. Food will be available onsite by local vendors Backdraft BBQ, Me & K’s and Petite Sweets. People can dance to the music or relax by the lazy river while watching the whimsical ducks race by.
“Come on in, grab a meal, bring a lawn chair and listen to music,” Karen said.
In addition to the 10 special prizes, there will also be door prizes such as gift cards to local eateries, a day spa, and movie theatres. Inside the center, games will be provided for children. The event will take place rain or shine.
Arvid Harding is on the board of the MRSHC, but also once benefited as a parent whose child needed assistance.
“When my son was 2 years old, he had trouble developing his speech due to frequent ear infections. As a patient of MRSHC, he developed his speech quickly and has not stopped talking since!” said Arvid. “We were truly blessed to have access to these services,” he added.
You can help support this worthy cause while having a great time at the Dancing, Dining & Ducks event. For more information about sponsoring ducks or making a donation, go online at kingsportducks.org or call Karen Dale at (423) 246-4600.