Community column: Everything will be just ducky in Radford
WANTED: Spirited sponsor to provide essential moral support for adrenaline-soaked adventure celebrating summer and your local economy. All ages welcome. Wet blankets need not apply.
Let me begin by declaring how thrilled I was when Mrs. Van Noy asked me to waddle up and fill in during this week’s column. First, I’ve always considered myself an undiscovered talent in the literary world. Penned my first novel, “All Quacky on the Western Shore,” as just a mere fledgling, followed by the lesser-known memoir, “Portrait of the Artist as a Duckling.” Neither did as well as expected. I blame fickle tastes on that. Maybe I ought to try something naughty next time. “Fifty Shades of Yellow,” anyone?
I’ve been so consumed by my training that I’ve had little to no time to continue penning masterpieces like those listed above. Pulling together a little column allows me to feed that creative part of my brain and still keep up my pre-race regimen. Yep, there’s been virtually nothing left in the day after the 14 hours of lap swimming and another 15 hours of weightlifting, not to mention another eight of running to build that cardiovascular.
This is all in preparation for this season’s biggest sports event. The Summer Olympics? Heck, no! I’m talking about the Lucky (rubber) Duck Race at the Radford RiverFest on Aug. 11.
The idea came from several fabulous citizen-fueled brain trusts at Radford — the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission. Yes, gotta give full credit to all three. The chamber wanted to revive the concept of a river-based festival. And the commission has been talking about the importance of the river to our local economy since they first officially convened a duck’s life ago.
These folks don’t just sit around honking like a gaggle of geese, you know. They work! Some members spend hours giving to the community. Take Keith Weltens for example. He’s got his own business, his own brood back at the home nest, and he currently oversees the chamber board. Mrs. Van Noy, keeper of this column, volunteers for the commission. (We call that a big disclosure from a little duck.)
Of course, both organizations have help from two highly competent staffers. Michelle Linkous, director of the chamber, keeps things ticking at that office. And Deb Cooney, our head of tourism — why the woman basically eats, sleeps, and flaps things to do in Radford.
So they hatched a scheme for a full day of fun along the New River — more specifically, in Bisset Park. There’s a fun run and walk in the morning, some horseshoe pitching after that, and food, crafts, music, and stuff for the kids all afternoon.
The Big Race starts at 3 p.m. That’s when I’ll join up to 1,000 of my fellow avian athletes atop the Veterans’ Bridge. At the pistol shot, we’ll plunge over the edge, absolutely terrorized by the idea of someone shooting at us, plummeting to our almost-certain demise into the water. (So much fun!) From there we’ll do whatever is necessary to be first across the finish line — making our sponsor the 2012 Lucky Duck, and happy recipient of 250 American dollars. Second and third places score some cash, as well.
Safety and keeping the river clean are top priorities anytime, and winners and losers alike will be scooped up by a water-based volunteer corps including the Radford Noon Rotary, the Radford Fire Department, the Swiftwater Rescue group, and Tangent Outfitters.
Adopting your own duck is easy. You can find us all over town these days: River City Grill, Sharkey’s, Quality Lube, Tangent Outfitters, Radford Public Library, Radford Chamber of Commerce, Radford Visitor’s Center, and with any of the Radford Noon Rotarians. And it’s for a good cause. Proceeds go to the Rotary’s Scholarship Fund.
So join in the fun, support your community, and enjoy a day in the park. And wave to me as I fly on by. I’ll be the one yelling “Bird-a-bunga!!!”
Visit visitradford.com for more details on the RiverFest.
To contact column keeper Catherine Van Noy, email her at email@example.com, or call 639-3330.
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