'Take a quack' at Naperville's annual Riverwalk Duck Race

There will be about 2,000 extra ducks floating this week in the DuPage River in downtown Naperville.

But unlike the river's usual inhabitants, these will be plastic quackers that are part of the fourth annual Riverwalk Duck Race, presented by Busey Bank and hosted by the Naperville Riverwalk Foundation.

The race is slated to begin, rain or shine, at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, from the footbridge near Centennial Park as they begin their float to the Eagle Street Bridge.

Each duck is numbered and human participants can buy a number for $5 each, $20 for five or $100 for 25. Other multi-duck packages also are available.

The first place prize is $1,981, signifying the year the Riverwalk was started to commemorate the city's sesquicentennial. Second place is $500. Third place is $250.

While the Riverwalk Foundation has been in its quiet stage for major fundraising since its campaign to help develop Fredenhagen Park in 2003, the Riverwalk Duck Race was launched in 2016 to heighten awareness about the needs and care of the Riverwalk, as well as to educate visitors about letting wildlife be wild to find healthful food in nature.

Feeding human snacks and bread crumbs to ducks, geese and other waterfowl is harmful to the health of wildlife and to the environment.

In other words, "Don't feed the ducks. Take a quack and race them."

Numbers for up to 2,000 ducks are for sale, online only, until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at

All proceeds will benefit the Riverwalk Foundation for education and enhancements along the winding brick paths of the city's natural treasure in the heart of the central business district.

  The fourth annual Riverwalk Duck Race is scheduled to start Wednesday when up to 2,000 plastic ducks are dumped into the DuPage River to begin their competition for charity. The event supports the Naperville Riverwalk Foundation. Bev Horne/ August 2018
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