Looks like 13 is not a lucky number for Newtown Lions Club.
Less than 24 hours after telling The Newtown Bee that the 13th Annual Great Pootatuck Duck Race would go on, rain or shine, event chair Bob Schmidt had to announce that the weather has changed the day's plans after all. There are no exhibits or vendors at the park at 5 Glen Road in Sandy Hook Center this morning, but a raffle will still be held at 2:30 this afternoon.
"The Duck Race Committee made a difficult but sensible decision to cancel the Duck Race and all of the included events," Mr Schmidt said via email at 10 am. "The ground is wet and slippery and the rain is predicted to continue all day. It would not be safe for people to be walking around on the wet grass.
"Instead of dumping the ducks into the water we made a decision to have a drawing at 2:30 today," he continued. "We came to the conclusion that the current is so strong in the Pootatuck River that the ducks could just pass by the collection system and we would not be able to select the winners in a fair way. We were also concerned that the River Crew who sets up the collecting system and then collects the ducks could be seriously injured by the strong currents.
"We decided to use the drum used for the Mustang raffle to select the winners. The committee will gather on the stage of Mike Porco's parking lot at 2:30 today and draw twenty winning tickets. I will call the winners on the phone tonight.
"We are very sad that we had to cancel this event but the safety of everyone is more important. We all look forward to the event every year."
Tickers were going to be sold on Saturday in the hours leading up to the 2:30 dumping up the ducks, but even that plan has been changed, Mr Schmidt said.
"It's really miserable out there," he said late Saturday morning. "We just don't want to send the guys out in this. The ground is just so slippery, and it's not safe for anyone to be walking around in the park right now."
So the final Duck Race raffle tickets have already been sold.
"This isn't the way we wanted this to happen," he said, sounding disappointed. "We never wanted to cancel our races."