By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Hundreds of people – and thousands of ducks – made their way to Verdugo Park on Saturday for the 11th Annual Kiwanis Incredible Duck Splash – KIDS – event that raises money for the Glendale Kiwanis and for local non-profit organizations.
A man-made, temporary “lake” – Lake Glendale – was set up in the park by members of Glendale Fire Dept. in the early morning hours on Saturday to accommodate the estimated 18,500 rubber ducks that would be making their way down the chute in one of six heats. The ducks were “adopted” by supporters of the Kiwanis and many other non-profit organizations, with all hoping to win the grand prize of $10,000.
“We were thrilled with the number of participants,” said Glendale Kiwanis President Jose Sierra of the number of adoptees. He added that 23 non-profits were involved in adopting out the ducks with each duck costing $5.
“It’s an easy way to raise funds since our club carries all of the work and expense of putting on the event and the non-profits keep 50% of [the proceeds from] every duck they sell,” Sierra said.
Once the ducks are launched in each heat, they are on their own. No attempt to free or interfere with any duck is permitted, unless deemed necessary by the Race committee.
A number is attached on the bottom of each duck relating to the number on the adoption papers. The person’s name appearing on the adoption papers corresponding to the first ducks in order of finish and gathered in the duck trap were awarded prizes, according to the Kiwanis’ website. When the ducks made their way to the bottom of the pool, students from various clubs – known as Golden Retrievers – were at the ready to collect them.
In between heats, visitors could visit one of 16 game booths set up in the park as part of the KIDS festivities. New booths this year were manned by members of the Glendale Rose Float Association, Daily High School Key Club and Los Angeles High School Key Club, said “Duck Mistress” and Kiwanis President-Elect Patricia Larrigan.
The Jewel City Kiwanis members were cooking up hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and more making sure the crowd was not hungry.
Just before 3 p.m., the 2015 Duck Splash winners were announced: the Quack Pack (pack of six ducks) winner of $500 was Nooshin Zarrabi (adopted for Glendale Healthy Kids); $500 prizes were won by Eddie Castro (adopted for Delphi Academy) and Marcia Lytle (adopted for Las Candelas); $1,000 prizes were awarded to Michele Roberts (adopted for Glendale Soroptimists) and Amy Lambert (adopted for KT Waddle We Do). The grand prize of $10,000 was won by Aidan & Laura Tsaparian (adopted for Rosemont Middle School).
The Kiwanians are barely dry from this year’s event and are already planning the 2016 KIDS.
“Next year we will have our 12th Duck Splash and we will work just as hard to raise over $100,000 again to distribute to those in need in our communities,” said Sierra.
Sharing the park on Saturday was the annual Glendale K9s in the Park event at the north end of Verdugo Park. Hosted by the Glendale Police Dept. K9 Unit, the dog-centered event featured photo opps with Glendale police K9s, pet adoptions and low-cost vaccinations. Being a dog-friendly event, there were hundreds of people who brought their four-legged best friends for an afternoon of fun.
Since its inception in 2005, the GPD K-9 unit has relied solely on donations from the community to offset all the costs of the program, including the purchase of new dogs, the initial basic training, detection training (narcotics or explosives), weekly maintenance training, equipment, supplies, and veterinary services. On average, the purchase price of a new K-9 and its initial training can be in excess of $20,000. This does not include the monthly expenses of recurrent training, supplies, and vet bills.
Saturday’s event helped educate the public about the K9 program while raising money for the it.
“This event is important not only to raise the necessary funds to keep this program in existence, but it also serves as one of Glendale’s most popular community events,” said Officer Shawn Sholtis of the K9 Unit. “This event offers a great opportunity to reach out to the community and showcase our K-9 program, which is only one of the many specialized units that the Glendale Police Dept. offers to combat crime.”
He added that with fewer officers on the streets due to budget concerns nationwide, police departments are forced to do more with less. K-9s have picked up the slack and are able to do many things faster and more efficiently than their human partners.