CEDAR LAKE | In the end, it was Duck No. 62, by a bill.
The winner was part of a field of 250 that took to the lake Saturday afternoon for the first-ever rubber duck race sponsored by the Cedar Lake Kiwanis at the annual Hometown Fest.
Duck No. 62 had been sponsored by St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cedar Lake; church members also were on-site running a food booth at Hometown Fest. The victorious duck won the church a first place prize of $250. Sponsors of the runners-up won gift certificates and gift baskets.
The festival also included games and activities for children, entertainment and craft and food booths. But the duck race, called the Duck Splash, was the first of its kind, both as entertainment and as a fundraiser for the Kiwanis and the Hanover Central High School Key Club. For $5 festgoers got to sponsor a duck; all proceeds went to the Kiwanis and Key Club.
Kiwanians use the money they raise throughout the year to sponsor two $250 scholarships for Hanover seniors annually, as well as to support Kiwanis Park in Cedar Lake and other organizations, said Dana Griner, Kiwanis treasurer.
Kiwanis member Nicole Laurinaitis was on hand to portray a life-sized duck mascot.
“Somebody had to be crazy enough to do it,” she said, laughing. “It’s really a lot of fun. I like being here and hanging out with the kids.”
Key Club members were also there to help the duck racers along. They commandeered kayaks and strung a floating rubber racetrack along the shore in front of the town complex.
“Clap for the boaters” creating a wake, Kiwanis Club President Mary Joan Dickson said. The wake helped the ducks drift toward shore, but in the end kayakers had to help them along by creating waves.