By Jason KUROSU
Verdugo Park will host two of Glendale’s annual, charitable events in one extravaganza this Saturday, with the 11th annual Kiwanis Duck Splash and the 7th annual Glendale K-9s in the Park. Both events are free to the public on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Six teams will be participating in this year’s duck race, filling the manmade “Lake Glendale” with thousands upon thousands of rubber ducks, each tied to a particular adoptive owner, with proceeds going to a number of participating organizations.
Patricia Larrigan, primary coordinator for this year’s Duck Splash, said that proceeds from the event will go to 32 local youth programs, including four organizations that are being introduced to the Duck Splash for the first time this year: Holy Family Grade School, Glendale Adventist’s Play to Learn Center, Parents and Children’s Nursery School, and Family Promise of the Verdugos.
Nearly $400,000 have been raised over the course of the Duck Splash’s history.
The teams will participate in six heats throughout the day, whittling the competitors down to a select few for a seventh, final heat. Cash prizes will go to the top four race winners, along with a prize for the winner of the Quack Pack Prize Drawing.
Meanwhile, those who have not had their fill of animal-related fun on the duck race alone can head across the park to the K-9s in the Park event, hosted by the nonprofit Glendale Police Foundation.
The 7th annual event benefits the police department’s K-9 unit, which depends entirely on donations. The Glendale Police Department’s K-9 unit was disbanded in 1988, forcing to city to utilize outside agency help when police dogs were needed.
The unit reformed in 2005, but with a need for donations to maintain upkeep for the dogs.
Officer Maribel Feeley, one of the Glendale Police Department’s dog handlers, said that the K-9s in the Park event has been a boon for the K-9 unit, which uses the funds raised for the dogs’ food, training and medical expenses. The dogs undergo five weeks of initial training, but Feeley said the training is “something that needs to be maintained” and compared the training to learning a new language, skills that can be lost quickly without the proper practice.
Three of the department’s K-9s, German Shepherds Branko, Igor and Jager, will be on hand to demonstrate their skills in suspect apprehension. The dogs are also trained to detect narcotics and explosives.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their dogs to the pet and family friendly event, with activities for man, woman, child and dog alike. Pets can be entered into the pet costume contest (which will be judged on audience applause) and the radar race, where owners can see just how fast their dog clocks on police radar guns.
Low-cost pet vaccinations and an adoption fair will be available, along with live music, food and displays from the Glendale Police Department.
Verdugo Park is located at 1621 Canada Boulevard in Glendale. For more information on Saturday’s events, visit www.ducks4kids.org and http://www.glendaleca.gov/government/departments/police-department/k9-unit.