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Rubber duck derby on for its third year

By MASON BLANFORD mblanford@paducahsun.com

At the end of Paducah's American Quilter's Society Quilt Week will come the city's annual migration of 10,000 rubber ducks.

The Merryman House Domestic Crisis Shelter's third Paducky Derby is set for 3 p.m. April 29, at Information Age Park Lake, 2000 McCracken Blvd. As the nonprofit's only major fundraiser, participants can help victims of domestic violence one duck at a time.

Visit duckrace.com/Paducah to adopt one duck for $5, or a "quack pack" of six for $25. For every rubber racer, its parent enters a drawing to win one of three cash prizes at $2,500, $1,000, or $500.

During Quilt Week, ducks can be adopted at the Julian Carroll Convention Center, April 26-28. Good Samaritans will also have their chance from 3 to 7 p.m. on April 14 at the Kroger store in Murray, and from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Station Burger near Kentucky Oaks Mall on April 21.

Sponsored by the American Quilter's Society, president Meredith Schroeder said there were no downsides for her in getting involved.

"We felt like it was a good way to contribute and work with them," Schroeder said. "Plus I think it's fun to see the ducks floating out there in the water. It raises money for a good cause, which is needed."

Development team member Janet Jones has represented the Merryman House for nine years, and for three years has taken the job of wrangling 10,000 rubber ducks in the wild.

Last year's Paducky Derby event raised $55,886 for Merryman House.

"For every duck you adopt, you're helping to save a victim of domestic violence," Jones said. "Five dollars isn't much money to help someone, so that's what we ask: that you adopt a duck and save a life."

The residential facility and its outreach program serves eight counties in the area, but she hopes they can reach out further, especially during venues like Quilt Week.

"It's a way to reach people outside of the area, and (remind) people there's help locally," she said. "And it's to raise awareness for people who don't realize such things happen in our community. Domestic violence victims are everywhere, and can be anybody."

Jones added that she's hoping for a clear, spring day. Paducah Power will be dumping the ducks in the water this year, and she hopes the Paducah Fire Department will again provide a current for the adopted ducks.

"It's amazing how receptive people in the community have been," she said. "That we have sponsors willing to do whatever they can for us. It's exciting that people care about the Merryman House and the work we do."

"We'll hopefully be doing this until there's no longer a need to (fight) domestic violence."

Paducky Derby visitors can park in the American Commercial Barge Line parking lot, right near the lake.

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