A winner is picked by a Hobart Park Department employee at the 20th annual Dam Duck Race in Hobart on Sunday. | Jim Karczewski ~ for Sun-Times media
Updated: November 3, 2011 4:11PM
HOBART — Crowds gathered along Deep River on Sunday afternoon in anticipation of about 3,400 bright-yellow plastic ducks plunging from the Lou Kuchta Memorial Bridge into the waters below, then waddling toward the finish line.
Some came just to watch the colorful spectacle; others clutched their yellow raffle tickets, hoping the duck that reached the finish line first in the annual Dam Duck Race would carry their ticket winning number, making them $1,000 richer.
“I bought nine tickets this year, one a week,” said Detlev Knappe of Lake Station as he waited for the race to start.
Knappe said he won a prize a couple years ago.
Julie Bradford of Hobart bought two tickets, one for each daughter, Allison, 8, and Maya, 5.
“I never won before, but then, I’m a Cubs fan, too,” Bradford said. “There’s always next year.”
Her daughter’s friend, Maddy Metros, 8, of Hobart, watched the spectacle for the first time.
“It’s great,” she said while sipping lemonade.
After the race, the crowds moved from the river to a tent in Festival Park, where members of Hobart Community Foundation, formerly known as HIEDC, wrote the winners’ names on two boards. The foundation sponsors the annual fundraiser.
Foundation member Margaret Kuchta said proceeds from the fundraiser provide grants to not-for-profit groups.
Foundation member Leni Vinzant said about 3,400 tickets were sold this year, and 55 prizes were donated.
“This is better than last year,” she said of the sales.
Nicole Dixon of Hobart, her son, Zackery, 10, and his two cousins waited under a tree next to the tent to see if they were the big winner.
“The kids are anxious; they want toys,” Dixon said.
She said she buys a ticket every year, and the kids like watching the race.
Peggy Tenorio of Lake Station said it was a winning day for her family. Her daughter, Megan, won a gift certificate to a women’s clothing store, and her stepmother, Barb Byarlay, won a gas card.
Matt Czarmach came away with a golf shirt.
“I guess I’ll have to learn to play golf now,” he said.