Hundreds of numbered rubber ducks wait to be drawn during the second annual Duck Drawdown Festival. (Hayden Hyatt for The Tribune)
CULLMAN – Sportsman Lake Park was filled on a beautiful Saturday for Cullman County Parks and Recreation’s second annual Duck Drawdown Festival. Attendees won door prizes, played games and enjoyed food and live music at the event, which was free to enter and raised funds for park improvements.
In addition to the regular park attractions, like putt-putt golf, the train, playground and paddle boats, there were four bouncy houses and an additional train for the kids to enjoy. The event also featured volleyball, cornhole and various vendors selling products.
The duck drawdown itself was the biggest “draw” for the event. Participants purchased tickets marked with a number and then a rubber duck with a corresponding number was placed in a pool. Later in the event, ducks were fished out the pool and the ticket holder for every 10th duck received a door prize provided by the sponsors of the event. Prizes included shirts, cases of soft drinks, rods and reels and more.
Finally, the person holding the number for the second to last duck won a trailer provided by Topline Trailers, and the lucky number holder for the last duck in the pool received a $1,000 prize.
Doug Davenport, director of Cullman County Parks and Recreation, said the event was a little different from last year’s.
“This is our second annual Duck Drawdown Festival,” said Davenport. “We moved the dates around this year and had more vendors this year. We just kinda tried to make it more kid-friendly this year; we've got four bouncy houses, two trains going and putt-putt, for $5, for the kids.”
Davenport said events like Saturday’s festival help add improvements to the park.
“This is a great little park to be right here in the city,” Davenport said. “The money from the tickets, that we’re selling for $5 apiece or five for $20, will be used to try to improve the playground and add some features into the park. We just bought 11 new park benches to go around and for the splash pad. We're allotted so much for the year, so if we can do something like this to generate extra money, we don't have to go back and ask for more money for improvements.”
Although the festival is new, Davenport thinks it could be around to stay.
“We're excited about it, you never know when you start a new event,” said Davenport. “We've tried some things in the past, but this really seems like it’s going to be a good thing, so I just hope everybody comes out this year and supports it and in the years to come.”
Jonathan and Tameka Ingle, winners of the Topline Trailer at the festival, had a great first visit to the park.
“We're from Jasper and we saw the post where they were having this event and we just thought we'd come and check it out. This is the first time we've been here,” said Tameka Ingle. “We visited the booths, the band was good, it's been a nice day.”
Jonathan Ingle said fundraisers like this can be beneficial to parks.
“(Events like this are) pretty important; they can always use the money for something,” he said. “We'll be back next year.”
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