It’s not that there was anything wrong with Centennial Pool, it’s just that it was time to move on.
Daybreak Rotary’s major annual fundraiser, the Quacker 5000 – better known as the Duck Dip – is happening later this year and moving to a more central area, but it will still be chock full of the fun community spirit it has been known for all these years.
And it will once again be raising a ton of money for various organizations within the community.
Organizer “Daffy Dave” Bazowski says this year’s event, being held at Spirit Square right in the heart of Downtown instead of at Centennial Pool, is a chance to reimagine what the Duck Dip can be.
“Centennial has been great, but we thought it was a great opportunity this year to kind of reinvigorate the event,” Bazowski says. “It was a little bit, ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ at Centennial and we wanted to make it a bit more prominent by putting it somewhere more central and visible.”
It will also be held about a month later in the year than usual. Past events at Centennial Pool ran in late August, while this year’s event is slated for Sept. 24.
“Back when we held it at the river, it was held in late September, so in a way, this is kind of like going back to our roots,” Bazowski says, adding they also didn’t want to interfere with other organizations’ fundraising initiatives, which tend pick up steam over the summer months.
“The summer is really busy for various organizations and non-profits and charities trying to engage the community, and we didn’t want to get in the way of those,” he says.
But wait – Spirit Square doesn’t have a pool. Or a river.
“I know,” he says with a laugh, looking around the square. “But it has great seating and we’ve teamed up with the Nanaimo Boat Modellers Club, who have a great pool that they bring around to community events all over the Island, and they’re going to help us out with that.”
That particular partnership provides another entertainment opportunity, as well.
“Before the ducks go in the pool, the club is going have a bunch of their boats with them to let the kids play with, too, so that adds yet another fun activity to the day that we haven’t had before,” Bazowski says.
Another new wrinkle to the event this year is the addition of a scavenger hunt, of sorts, involving local downtown businesses leading up to the event.
“We’ve got about 20 businesses onboard, and for the last couple of weeks before the dip, there will be a bunch of ducks hidden in various stores around downtown, and if people find those ducks, they will get to fill out an entry form to get in the draws on the day of the event to win prizes supplied by those businesses.”
Look for Rotarians at various events and booths around town over the next month selling tickets for $10. Each ticket purchase also gets you a sheet of coupons for discounts at various businesses around town who are supporting the event.
“We’d like to raise between $35,000 and $40,000 again this year – which is what we do most years – but the final amount isn’t really the most important thing,” Bazowski says.
What’s important, he says, is that 100 per cent of the proceeds from the event stay within the community. Last year’s dip provided over $36,000 to local organizations from the Mountain Bike Park to the Summer Reading program at the library to the KIDSTART program through the John Howard Society to providing scholarships for 21 local high school graduates.
How do they decide which projects to help?
“Sometimes we become aware of a project that needs our help and other times people come to us with a project and we add it to the list, and then we vet and consider all of the organizations we could support and make those decisions,” Bazowski says. “Sometimes we give a little bit to a whole bunch of organizations and projects, and sometimes we only choose a few so that we can help a bit more. It’s really decided on a case by case basis.”
If you or someone you know have a project you think Rotary could help with, contact any Rotarian – maybe when you stumble upon them selling Duck Dip tickets at various locations around town over the next month or so – through their website at duckdip.ca or crdaybreakrotary.org or on their Facebook Page.