Fowl luck has befallen this year's rubber duck race at the Boulder Creek Festival. With the results already in, each and every one is a clear loser.

That's because it was announced Wednesday that the festival's signature Memorial Day event has been canceled, with Boulder's Parks and Recreation Department declaring that ongoing redesign work in Boulder's Civic Area Park makes holding the race this year impossible.

"With the construction in the Civic Area, it just wasn't feasible to hold the duck race this year, so they are taking this year off," said Denise White, a spokeswoman for the city's Parks and Recreation department. "Our EXPAND group is looking at a different fundraiser it may be able to hold this year."

The EXPAND program for people with disabilities is the traditional beneficiary of the annual duck race, which typically sees thousands of little rubber ducks released into Boulder Creek, with spectators given the opportunity to buy tickets featuring one duck's number, then root for that duck to finish first.

"The rubber duck race has been a great fundraiser for the EXPAND Program; it has brought in tens of thousands of dollars over the years while being hosted at the Boulder Creek Festival," said a statement from Chris Dailey, executive director of Boulder Creek Events, which stages the festival. "We were disappointed to learn that the city had made the decision to cancel the 2017 duck race.


Advertisement

"The footprint of the event may look different this year with the challenges we've been facing due to the Civic Area construction, but we feel that some of these changes will ultimately benefit the event and make the 30th Annual Boulder Creek Festival the best one yet."

The ducks are now riding a four-year streak of mishaps and misfortune that would test the pluck of any bird.

In 2014, the race was scuttled in the wake of the disastrous 2013 flood, in favor of what was termed a " duck event," at which EXPAND's "Quacky Duck" pulled numbered ducks from a children's wading pool to determine the winners.

In 2015, the race went off as planned, but due to particularly high waters, many of the 6,000 ducks were swept right past the finish line, and were still being corralled way downstream by city employees in succeeding days.

Such a mishap was avoided in 2016, when the race was simply moved from the Memorial Day weekend festival to the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival at the start of September.

"The ducks have been making some noise, for a few years now," White conceded.

Wednesday's announcement that this year the ducks will be festival no-shows was accompanied by the news that when the duck race returns, it may not be as a fundrasier for EXPAND.

"This gives us a good chance to have EXPAND look at how that fundraiser is serving their program as well, moving forward," White said. "We're taking this time, since it's not being held this year, to see if there is something that aligns better."

This year's three-day festival, kicking off at 10 a.m. May 27, will take place from Broadway to 14th Street, between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue, and also include the Boulder High School lawn. The accompanying carnival, due to construction, will be moved to the Boulder Public Library lot located off of Arapahoe Avenue.

Attractions will include a craft beer showcase, concert performances by artists including the DeadPhish Orchestra and Hazel Miller, and numerous children's attractions and activities.

Charlie Brennan: 303-473-1327, brennanc@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/chasbrennan