Clinton York uses a paddle to push plastic ducks down Bloomfield’s Riverside Landing at Vereda del Rio San Juan Park during Saturday’s duck
Clinton York uses a paddle to push plastic ducks down Bloomfield's Riverside Landing at Vereda del Rio San Juan Park during Saturday's duck race. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
BLOOMFIELD — For a little while on Saturday, the San Juan River was pink, yellow and robin's egg blue.

As part of the Bloomfield Days community celebration, more than 2,300 plastic ducks were released at 2 p.m., prompting about a dozen children to wade into the ankle-deep water to capture the pastel armada as it floated downstream.

Once the ducks appeared, the river churned with kids and volunteers from the Bloomfield Fire Department, who frenetically grabbed the floating ducks and tossed them onto the riverbank.

"One year, we got a call from somebody in Kirtland who asked whether a duck found there was ours," said Fire Chief George Duncan, who called out the numbers of the winning ducks.
Plastic ducks float down Bloomfield’s Riverside Landing at Vereda del Rio San Juan Park on Saturday.
Plastic ducks float down Bloomfield's Riverside Landing at Vereda del Rio San Juan Park on Saturday. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
"It's possible but rare that one or two might float away from us."

For more than 10 years, the annual duck race at the bottom of Vereda del Rio San Juan Park has raised money to help Bloomfield cub scouts, soccer clubs and softball teams. Half of the money raised goes back to the Chamber of Commerce for various events throughout the year.

Kids work toward their fundraising goals by selling sponsorships in the form of rubber ducks, each with a number written on the bottom to identify the sponsor.

"With this one, kids get to earn the money by putting in the work," said Janet Mackey, a representative for the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce, who organized the event.

Businesses and individuals can sponsor a duck for $5 each.

This year's duck sponsorships doubled from the previous year.

To celebrate the children's impressive fundraising skills, Duncan promised the kids a special treat for helping scoop up the regatta of ducks: bowls of ice cream and a chance to climb aboard a fire engine at the fire station.

"This year, we did it without a single duck left behind," Duncan joked. "Another good day in Bloomfield."

 

James Fenton can be reached at jfenton@daily-times.com; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @fentondt.