Thousands of yellow rubber ducks made their way down the yellow water slide at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center on Saturday with hopes of winning a prize and as representations of donations for the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center Inc.
The duck race on Saturday was the 20th annual Dixon Duck Dash fundraiser after a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and finding a proper location.
However, the duck race has now found its home at the aquatics center.
“We’re trying to build this one up from the previous years,” said Philip Solomon, CEO of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center Inc. “It’s really a kind of a kick-off for the new venue for us.”
The Samuel Dixon Family Health Center is a full-service health safety-net provider with a mission to provide high-quality, culturally sensitive, affordable and accessible primary health care, dental, mental health and enrollment services to resident of the Santa Clarita Valley who are in need. The center operates in three community-based centers across the SCV and aids any residents of any age.
“I love what they do for the community,” said Ivy Manalang, a long-time attendee of the duck race.
This year 2,500 ducks were ushered down the slide to raise money specifically for the mental health services that were established 10 years ago, but their need was brought back into the light after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic really kind of shined the light on the lack of resources for mental health care for people that didn’t have health coverage,” said Solomon. “During the pandemic, that was a need that just exploded. We were fortunate to get several grants to expand our mental health program in the last two, three years.”
Groupings of approximately 160 ducks took on the twists and turns of the slide until all 2,500 made their way down. The top 10 or so ducks were taken from each grouping to then be entered in the final race.
The grand prize was a four-pack of tickets to Disneyland, followed by $300 and $150 prizes.
“This is the only event of its kind in Santa Clarita,” said Solomon. “It’s really just for families.”
“We’re here to serve our community and we’re very grateful for all the people who sponsored the Duck Dash,” said Glorida Mercado-Fortine, a board member for the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center.
Attendees were also able to hop in the water as it simultaneously marked the last day for the swimming season at the aquatics center.