HARVARD — It’s not often that a little plastic duck can get you dinner reservations anywhere in the world, but that will be the case in Harvard this weekend.
The occasion is the Ayer-Harvard-Shirley Rotary Club’s Ducky Wucky River Race, which is slated to cap the 54th annual Apple Blossom Festival.
This year’s first prize is dinner for two anywhere in the world, accommodations for two nights and airfare, said Rotary President Peter Lowitt.
Overall, he termed the prize a unique one.
”It’s the best award I’ve ever heard of for any event,” he said.
While the day’s festivities will end with a mass of plastic ducks racing down the Nashua River in Still River Village, most of the event will be held in the town common, said event Chairman Marty Poutry. He envisioned a cornucopia of vendors and activity that will take up much of the common.
”It’s like an old time country festival,” he said. “We’ll have people selling crafts, we’ll have food, we have things for the kids to do. It’s a good time for the whole family.”
Originally founded by the Couples Club, the event was taken over by the Rotary 16 years ago. Since then, it has become one of the club’s major fund-raisers to support charitable causes, said Lowitt.
”We raised money that goes to support scholarships for high school seniors in all of the surrounding high schools,” he said. “Without a good fund-raising event, we won’t be able to support them at the level we’ve become accustomed to.”
While elements of the festival change from year to year, the duck race has been a constant during Rotary’s tenure. The five-minute race will be held at 4:30 p.m., with the first 73 ducks finishing in the money for prizes donated by area merchants.
On the grand prize, Lowitt said a former Rotarian who owned a travel agency introduced it and that a family member has continued it.
Ducks in the race cost $5 a piece or five for $20.
The festival is scheduled for Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Sunday as the rain date.
Poutry said there’s no charge for admission.
”It’s free to attend, so just come on down and have a good time,” he said.