MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The 15th Annual Rubber Duck Race, organized by the South Orange & Maplewood Kiwanis Club, drew hundreds of participants and onlookers to mark the unofficial start of summer in Memorial Park on Memorial Day.

Over the years, the popularity of the race has grown to the point where this year’s race required six heats, each with hundreds of rubber ducks tossed off the bridge and raced down the river. Local Boy Scouts from Troop 5 stood in the river to help shepherd the ducks downstream, and volunteers from the South Mountain YMCA were on hand to help out as well.

Kiwanis Club Treasurer Jeff Kyle said that this is their club’s only fundraiser for the year, so he is grateful for the tremendous community support.  Local businesses sponsored the event and donated prizes for multiple winners. He hoped that the day’s event would raise between $15,000 and $20,000 to help the group in their support of multiple worthy causes, including local food banks, The South Mountain YMCA, local Boy and Girl Scouts, Youth and Consultation Service of New Jersey and the Children's Rooms of the local libraries.

This year’s race was dedicated to Ellie Gianni, who helped to organize the duck races every year, and to her daughter-in-law Francine, both of whom passed away recently.