Ducks make a splash during annual Kiwanis fundraiser at Verdugo Park


For the 13th year in a row, about 20,000 “ducks” migrated along a route to “Lake Glendale” on Saturday.

The ducks were rubber, and the lake was artificial, but the estimated thousands of dollars raised for local charitable efforts by the Glendale Kiwanis Club at its Incredible Duck Splash at Verdugo Park were very real.

The Duck Race, as it’s also known, lets participants — many representing area schools and more than 50 nonprofit groups — adopt a rubber duck for $5 each. The ducks are then entered into a water stream built from plastic and tarps, where they float downstream into “Lake Glendale” to determine a winner.

This year’s first place finish went to Christine Smith of Pasadena, who took home a $10,000 prize. Teruo Watanabe earned $1,000 for second place and La Cañada Flintridge resident Jose Sierra came away with third place, also receiving $1,000.

According to Stacey Nishi, president-elect of Glendale Kiwanis and one of the event’s organizers, the Duck Race reached its goal of 20,000 adopted ducks and again marked the fundraiser as the largest for the club.

“The event is popular because I feel like the mission and goal of Kiwanis — to help children in community — resonates well with people,” Nishi said.

The event is boosted by designated “duck buddies,” teams made up from groups such as the Delphi Academy of L.A., Glendale Police Explorers and Las Candelas.

Proceeds from the fundraiser help children and youth in Glendale as well as in neighboring cities in Los Angeles County. According to Nishi, the Duck Race has contributed more than $1 million into the community since it started.

“We just try to make each year better,” Nishi said.