By MEGHAN McCOY
Three thousand ducks will be floating down the Monroe Canal during the Great Calusa Rubber Duck Race this weekend at Woody's Waterside.
The Great Calusa Rubber Duck Race will be held on March 2 at Woody’s Waterside. Once the live auction is completed around 4 p.m., the ducks will be released in the Monroe Canal fighting to swim the fastest to the finish line.
Tickets, which are $5 per duck, are still on sale and can be purchased by calling Pink Wesorick at 283-7249, Char Manos at 292-9456 or by stopping at Woody's Waterside.
This year the ticket holder of the first duck to cross the finish line will receive an offshore fishing trip for four people, a $2,000 value. Wesorick said the fishing excursion has been donated by Max Marine and Capt. Steve Woodard will provide the fishing trip aboard the Maxine.
The next 20 ducks to cross the finish line will receive gift bags, comprised of more than $100 in gifts.
Last year, the Great Calusa Rubber Duck Race included lucky ducks for the first time, which will make an appearance again this year. Wesorick said there are 120 lucky ducks available to be purchased the day of the event for $20 a piece starting at noon.
The first lucky duck to cross the finish line will receive a cash prize.
In addition to the duck race, the March 2 event will also include silent and live auctions.
This year's live auction includes glasswork - a seahorse and fish; 6-foot wood carved tarpon; a seafood cooking class and dinner for 12; sunset cruise with author Bob Macomber; private performance with Tommy Barr and Cindy Walsh; three-day, two-night stay at Tarpon Lodge; and a three-day and two-night stay at 'Tween Waters.
Wesorick said the live auction will take place about 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The silent auction also includes an abundance of items, with such items as fishing guides and boat rentals, for those who are interested in making a bid. She said on each auction item, the price is listed, as well as the buy it now price and the silent auction price.
Once the live auction is completed, the lucky ducks will be released in the Monroe Canal, which will be followed by the regular duck race.
Wesorick said the Great Calusa Duck Race, is the biggest fund-raiser for the Calusa Land Trust.
The Land Trust mission is "The purpose of the Calusa Land Trust is to protect the natural diversity and beauty of the Pine Island region by acquiring, managing and preserving in perpetuity environmentally sensitive or historically important land and to foster appreciation for and understanding of the environment and our past."
The Calusa Land Trust owns 1,800 acres on the island, which is worth over $1 million in value.
"We live in a special little world and I thank the Land Trust for it," Wesorick said.