Blackwater Pyrates raise $14,340 through annual duck race

Special to Gannett

MILTON — In a bit of a departure from the normal Fourth of July Mill Town Duck Race, the Blackwater Pyrates concluded their annual fundraiser in the Riverfront Park gazebo on Saturday, Sept. 5. 

Rather than a front-end loader dropping rubber ducks off the Blackwater River Bridge, three local dignitaries reached into a raffle drum and selected this year’s winners.

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Mayor Heather Lindsay drew the first place winner. $1,500 will go to Roman and Robin Nowak.  City Councilman Jeff Snow drew next, and the second place winner is Blackwater Bistro customer Susan Leveille.  She will receive $500. 

City Councilman Jeff Snow pulls the lucky second place winner.

The third local dignitary to assist in the drawing was USC Auxiliary Flotilla 1-7 Commander Jack Remus. The third place prize of $250 goes to Tony Renbarger of Coastal Canvas.

Although abbreviated due to COVID-19, the Blackwater Pyrates were able to adopt out 2,868 ducks, raising $14,340.  These funds are used to fulfill the Pyrates’ three core missions of boater safety, river cleanup, and local maritime historical preservation.

The Blackwater Pyrates Duck Drop event raised over $14,000 toward the group's boating and preservation programs Sept. 5 in Santa Rosa County. Pictured during the event are Duck Diva Vickie McKee, Councilman Jeff Snow, Mayor Heather Lindsay, local Flotilla Commander Jack Remus, and Blackwater Pyrate Captain Murky.

Pyrate “Duck Diva” Vickie McKee pronounced this year’s fundraiser a success.

“In spite of all of the obstacles, we managed to raise a good deal of money to support our missions,” McKee said. 

“We look forward to next year, when the city will hopefully be able resume its normal festivals and the Duck-Drop will go on as scheduled.”

Blackwater Pyrates and dignitaries assemble in front the Pyrate mascot, Stewe, who is sporting a COVID-19 mask.

McKee added, “We also want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our sponsors and all individuals who supported our cause this year.”