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Rubber ducky regatta regales residents

Posted: October 27, 2012 6:21 p.m.
Updated: October 27, 2012 6:33 p.m.

Young ducky enthusiasts from left, Alexander Villanueva Amina, 2, and Saliah Antoine, 6, Nicolas, 2, and Nathan Cabrera, 6, watch the rubber duckies float by during a test run at the 10th annual Rubber Ducky Festival at Bridgeport Park on Saturday. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

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Santa Clarita Valley residents flocked to Valencia’s Bridgeport Park on Saturday for the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers’ 10th annual Rubber Ducky Festival.

Samuel Dixon puts on the event to raise funds to provide patient care throughout the year for those who are uninsured or under-insured. This year’s event was the first held at Bridgeport Park.

Cheryl Laymon, Samuel Dixon’s executive director, said the change in venue from Castaic Lake was made so more community members could become involved in the event.

“It’s important for our outreach to be visible to the entire community,” Laymon said. “This event helps remind people that we’re here, that we can help them if they need (help).”

The major staging area for the duck race was named “Bolden Pond” in honor of longtime Samuel Dixon Board of Directors member Ed Bolden, whom Laymon described as the event’s “papa duck.”

Laymon said she expected there to be about 3,500 ducks in the race this year and for the event to raise around $25,000 from the race and sponsorships. Medical company Boston Scientific was the title sponsor of the event.

Those fundraising expectations were quickly met during an official presentation about an hour into the event, when Laura Gallardo, Kaiser Permanente public affairs director and a former Samuel Dixon Board of Directors member, gave Samuel Dixon a $90,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente.

Gallardo said she had attended the first festival a decade ago and she was proud to see it still going strong.

Canyon Country resident Theresa Yagiela had ducks both in and out of the race. Her ducks out of the race were her four children, each dressed in a yellow duck outfit.

“We decided to get in the spirit a little bit,” she said, laughing.

Yagiela said she thinks events like the festival are a way to reach out to residents who may live further away from town.

“This is just a wonderful way to be part of the community, to have that community spirit, all while helping out a good cause,” Yagiela said.

Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar took time at the event to award keys to the city to five of the Santa Clarita Valley’s local 2012 Olympians.

“I am so happy to be a part of the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Alysia Montaño, who placed fifth in the women’s 800-meters at the 2012 Olympic Games. “I feel so privileged and so blessed.”




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