Balls will be bouncing down Aspen Highlands on Saturday in lieu of Ducky Derby |

Balls will be bouncing down Aspen Highlands on Saturday in lieu of Ducky Derby

Ducks won’t be rolling down the river on Saturday, but balls will be rolling down the mountain.

Saturday’s annual Ducky Derby fundraiser for the Rotary Club will have a different location and format from previous editions. Rather than rubber ducks floating down the Roaring Fork River in a race to the Stein Park finish, this year features yellow balls that will be unleashed down the Thunderbowl Run at Aspen Highlands.

The change came amid concerns about COVID-19 health restrictions. When the Rotary Club had to make a scheduling call about the event last winter, it created the alternative event in case there were prohibitions on large public crowds.

The Ducky Derby festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the base of Aspen Highlands with plenty of faimly friendly events.

The main attraction is the Ducky Derby. Here’s how it will work: Rotary members will release 225 yellow balls to bounce down the ski run and be trapped at the bottom. The balls create over 20,000 different combinations of numbers. All chances are pre-assigned a number, and the first two ball numbers that finish will link to a winning number. The second two balls will link to the second-place winner, and the third two balls will link to a third-place winner. The three winners will receive, respectively, $5,000, $1,000 and $500.

The suggested donation of $10 or more per ducky ball will provide a supporter with an entry in the race. The donations will go toward youth organizations, community nonprofits, international service projects and high school scholarships in Basalt and Aspen.

Since beginning the race in 1992, Rotary Club of Aspen has raised more than $4 million. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, the Aspen Rotary will have a tent on the Cooper Avenue mall across the street from Paradise Bakery.

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