A festival of events that usually brings more than 12,000 guests into Ozark is still set to happen Aug. 21-22.

The 2020 Sertoma Duck Race festival was rescheduled earlier in the year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers are proceeding with the 4C Sertoma Duck Race and the Children’s Smile Center Hot Air Balloon Glow.

4C Sertoma Club member Bradley Jackson gave a preview of the events at the June membership luncheon of the Ozark Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re going to have everything that we’ve always done. We are going to take some extra precautionary measures to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to come down, be safe and be in a good, safe environment,” Jackson said.

In the Sertoma Duck Race, thousands of rubber ducks follow a course along the Finley River in the mill pond at Finley River Park. The fastest ducks are plucked from the water at the finish line, and prizes are awarded to the sponsors of each winning duck.

The grand prize for the 2020 Sertoma Duck Race is a a 2020 Chevy Blazer from Ozark Chevrolet.

You can sponsor a rubber duck, or a whole flock of ducks, by purchasing duck tickets from Sertoma Club members for $10 apiece. There are discounts for people who adopt $50 worth of ducks or $100 worth of ducks.

A total of 15 duck race participants received more than $40,000 worth of prizes in 2019.

“Last year, we had a great event. We were able to donate $52,500 to children’s charities here in Christian County. We’re hoping to eclipse that this year,” Jackson said.

This year’s festival benefits Care to Learn Ozark, Children’s Smile Center and the Dogwood Ranch. The event also includes live music, fireworks, a car show, craft and vendor booths, a beer garden, inflatables and rides, a 5K run and a whole lot of fun. On Saturday afternoon, there will be a barbecue competition and a cornhole tournament hosted by Signal Food Stores.

The COVID-19 pandemic will bring about some changes to the Sertoma Duck Race, but Jackson said that the organizers are doing their best to foster a safe and fun experience for all who attend.

“We will have additional hand washing stations, we will have the ability for everybody to try to social distance as much as possible,” Jackson said. “We are going to practice the most common-sense, best practices available to us to have a good time for our community.”

The Children’s Smile Center Balloon Glow, held annually on the Friday night before the Duck Race, is the largest fundraiser each year for Children’s Smile Center. The organization provides dental care to children in low-income families served by MoHealthNet, or Medicaid. Children’s Smile Center has clinics in Ozark, Branson West and Aurora.

Hot air balloon crews will inflate their balloons at dusk to provide a light display against the night sky. Balloons are tethered to the ground and do not take flight, so attendees can enjoy a 60-90 minute light show, pending weather and wind speeds.

You can find out more about the Sertoma Duck Race festival and adopt your racing ducks by visiting http://4csertoma.com/sertoma-duck-race.html.

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