Annual Southern Illinois Ducky Derby Dash will support Special Olympics

Special Olympics Illinois is getting ready for the sixth annual Ducky Derby Dash to benefit athletes in Southern Illinois and across the state. The derby is planned Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event, like many others, has been forced to take on a new look for 2020. 

For the past five years, the event has been held at the Du Quoin State Fair. 

With the fair’s cancellation due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, Special Olympics Illinois, SOILL, came up with a new game plan. 

“The times are a-changing, as they say. But, what has not changed is the need for support and awareness for Special Olympics Illinois and the more than 36,000 athletes that we serve,” said Kimberly Talley, co-director, Region K, Special Olympics Illinois, in a news release.

“Though 2020 has not been what we expected, we have taken our lead from the SOILL community and approached this event, and all of our programs, with positivity.”

Special Olympics Illinois serves more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and over 13,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities through programs that enhance physical fitness, health, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills, and encourage family and community support.

This year’s event will be an in-person, family-friendly festival at Walker’s Bluff in Carterville.

The race itself will be held virtually and a winner will be announced live. 

The festival is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m., followed by the virtual race at 3 p.m.

The event will feature entertainment for the entire family, including live music, face painting, games, and an appearance by Splash Duck, the mascot. The event will conclude at 4 p.m. 

Organizers noted that all of those who attend will be required to adhere to all state and local health guidelines and social distancing practices.

To get involved, interested parties can adopt a rubber duck for $5, which gives participants a chance to win one of the Southern Illinois Ducky Derby Dash’s prizes. 

Ducks are available for adoption online at Join the conversation on social media by using #DuckyDerbyDash. 

Special Olympics Illinois athlete and 2020 Duck Derby Dash Ambassador, Valerie Densler is scheduled to be at the festival to celebrate the winners. 

Special Olympics Illinois Region K serves the South Central portion of Illinois with local programming for over 1,600 athletes in Alexander, Clay, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White and Williamson counties. 

Region K offers participation in 16 sports and holds 24 competitions year-round. For more information about Region K, visit

For more information, call 800-394-0562 or visit Follow Special Olympics Illinois on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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