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CCE Tompkins County 4-H Duck Race makes triumphant return to Ithaca waters

A wave of yellow splashed down Cascadilla Creek Falls in Ithaca on Sunday, April 28, as 3,000 rubber ducks made their return to the 21st annual Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County 4-H Duck Race. Hitting the water after a three-year hiatus, the ducks bobbed and weaved through a scenic gorge and turbulent water in front of hundreds of community members who gathered for a day of games, refreshments, prizes, and the opportunity to purchase chances on the numbered ducks in the race.

The owner of the first-place duck took home the grand prize of $500 cash, while other top finishers won prizes that included Binghamton Rumble Ponies and Syracuse Mets prize packages, Amazon Alexas, and a season pass from Discover Cayuga Lake. All proceeds from the event go towards supporting 4-H youth programs in Tompkins County, including rural and urban afterschool programs, summer camp and school break activities, college and career prep programs, and interest-based 4-H clubs.

“We didn’t know exactly what to expect after the time off,” said David Foote, Communications Manager at CCE Tompkins County, “but we were both surprised and excited by the huge community response. Over 50 local businesses sponsored the Duck Race.”

The race started at the base of Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Cascadilla Gorge Trail and finished a mile and a half downstream near CCE Tompkins County’s headquarters. CCE staff members collaborated with community partners and volunteers, including New York State Senator Lea Webb, to facilitate the event.

“It was an energizing experience, and we look forward to spending time with our community at many other events this year.” said Foote.

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