Rubber ducks race to victory at annual festival to support Samuel Dixon Family Health Center

Autumn Graham, 2, dressed on a duck suit reaches for the rubber ducks in the holding pond before the first heat at the 2018 Rubber Ducky Festival held at Bridgeport Park in Valencia on Saturday, October 13, 2018. (Photo by Dan Watson)
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Thousands of rubber ducks “raced” along the water at Bridgeport Park on Saturday in support of Samuel Dixon Family Health Center during the 16th annual Rubber Ducky Festival.

“We have about 2,500 (rubber ducks) that we’ve been racing throughout the day,” said Philip Solomon, chief executive officer of the Dixon Health Center. “If you got a duck that you adopted, your chances are better than the Lotto, right?”

With multiple races, the ducks are sent down a water slide. Residents and group participants “adopted” one or multiple ducks to decorate and race, with the chance to win cash prizes. Guests also could win raffle prizes, as well as visit with more than three dozen vendors circling the race.

“This race that’s about to happen where the kids get to decorate a duck, and then race is the highlight for my kids,” said Ruben Lucero, a sponsor and the publisher of “Around the Lake” magazine. “They talk about it throughout the year, ‘My duck almost won last year.’”

One guest, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, presented Solomon with an award of recognition for the health center’s services.

Bryce Sanchez, 2, left, and sister Cami, 5, watch the rubber ducks race down the shoot during the second heat of the the races at the 16th Annual Rubber Ducky Festival held at Bridgeport Park in Valencia on Saturday, October 13, 2018. (Photo by Dan Watson)

“This is the event that helps raise funds that goes to those who most deserve it,” Lackey said.

The Rubber Ducky Festival brought back live music and a rock-climbing wall from previous festivals, and the care and support received continues to keep the festival going each year, Solomon said.

Solomon thanked some of the event’s major sponsors, such as Kaiser Permanente and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, noting that without such support the event wouldn’t be possible each year. “A lot of (the) vendors here … are supporting what we do.”

The health center operates three community-based centers in the Santa Clarita Valley, helping people of all ages and providing them with the medical support they need. Proceeds from the festival go toward health care, dental care and mental health counseling that many people can’t afford to receive elsewhere, Solomon said.

For more information about Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers, visit

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