Everything is just ducky
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent August 15, 2013 10:38AM
Members of Boy Scout Troop 65, scout leaders and parent helpers work on their boat to be entered in the Hobart Dam Duck Tape & Cardboard Cup Regatta, a new addition to the annual Lakefront Festival in Hobart. Adults are (from left) Pennie Zimmerman, Scoutmaster Marc Keen, Brian Corbeille and Rob Fox. Scouts are (from left) Nathan Fox, Brett Keen, Tommy Howard, Griffin Zimmerman and T. J. Keen. | Photo by Karen Caffarini
Updated: September 17, 2013 7:44AM
HOBART — Seymour and Sadie are preening their feathers, the Parks Department is working on last-minute details and members of the Hobart Community Foundation are busy selling tickets for the Dam Duck Race — all in preparation for the 22nd Annual Lakefront Festival running Thursday through Sunday at Festival Park, 111 E. Old Ridge Road.
While many long-time favorites of the four-day festival will return this year — including the Laser Light Show presentation at dusk Friday and Saturday nights, carnival rides and arts and crafts vendors each day and the annual Dam Duck Race on Sunday — there also will be some new and expanded attractions this year.
“We try to add something different every year,” said Parks secretary Sue Kirkilewski, who’s been organizing the festival since its inception.
This year that includes a new event — a Hobart Dam Duck Tape & Cardboard Cup race — in which boats made of cardboard, duct tape and glue race on Lake George at 3 p.m. Saturday, Kirkilewski said.
Individuals and groups are using their creativity and building skills to construct seaworthy boats capable of handling all the people they want to squeeze on them and floating on Lake George — for a short time, at least.
“We wanted to do something to utilize the lake. That was our main goal,” Hobart Parks employee and pool manager Julie Mandon said.
“The boats can be of any design as long as you follow the rules. I’ve seen them from boat shapes to dragons,” Mandon said.
Mandon said the hand-made boats will launch from the dock by the clock tower, race around the buoy and head back.
“The water’s about 4-feet deep by the dock, but everyone must wear a life jacket just in case. You have to be prepared to go down with the ship,” Mandon said.
Mandon said a first-place prize will be given to the first boat to finish the race intact. There also will be a Viewer’s Choice prize for the best-looking or most creative boat and a Shipwreck or Titanic prize given to the first boat to sink.
Boy Scout Troop 65, which meets at St. Augustana Lutheran Church in Hobart, is one of the groups participating in this year’s race.
Scoutmaster Marc Keen said the fairly new group, which organized in January and consists of nine boys ages 11 to 17, has built a catapult but not a duct tape boat before.
The scouts and their leaders worked on their boat in the church’s parking lot one recent evening, adding more layers of cardboard and more duct tape to the seams.
“We’re trying to keep as much water out of the boat as we can,” Keen said.
Some of the scouts had other ideas, though.
“My son wants it to just go down,” said Pennie Zimmerman, mother of Griffin Zimmerman.
The festival also will have some new bands entertaining the crowds and an expanded children’s area.
The number of bounce activities will increase, with as many slides, obstacle courses and other bouncers that can fit in a 100-foot area to be included. The ponies, which Kirkilewski said is a favorite of the youngsters, will be back for the 22nd year for kids to ride.
Kids can also enjoy the carnival rides brought by Anderson Amusements and can try their luck catching a big fish during the Jaycee Fishing Derby, 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday.
Local musical favorites Nawty and Crawpuppies will be joined this year by the Alan Wronko Band, a country/western group performing from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, and Hat Guys, which covers various bands and interacts with the audience, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The group The Difference will be the closing act for the first time at the festival, from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to the vendors who will be there each day selling elephant ears, burgers and other foods, fest-goers can once again visit the Jaycee Beer Garden each day, the Lions’ Steak Fry from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jaycee Pancake Breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Elks Spaghetti Dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Hobart Chamber of Commerce Pig Roast from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Sunday at 3 p.m., fest-goers can follow Sadie and Seymour Duck and Mayor Brian Snedecor to Lake George Dam, where hundreds of yellow plastic ducks will be poured over the dam and into the waters below. The ticket holders matching the first ducks to cross the finish line will win prizes. Tickets can be purchased at the festival at the Hobart Community Foundation tent.
Kirkilewski promises a surprise leading up to the Dam Duck Race, but isn’t giving any hints.