Tickets For The September 12th Annual YMCA Duck Race Are On Sale Now

by The South Mountain YMCA
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From The South Mountain YMCA

The South Mountain YMCA is excited to bring ducks and families back to the river on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 11am for the iconic Annual Duck Race, a cherished event in the community for over 20 years.

“While the community came out in ‘virtual’ force to make the 2020 Virtual Duck Race a huge success, we know people want to see their yellow feathered friends back racing live this year,” said James Goodger, South Mountain YMCA Executive Director. We’re looking forward to this beautiful annual tradition returning, with kids and families smiling, laughing and celebrating as the ducks float on by.”

Duck Race tickets are now on sale online:  5 race with fantastic prizes and new surprises!

The races bring staff, volunteers, township leaders and the community together for a fun family experience and great cause. Proceeds go toward the Y’s financial assistance program, which helps make Y programs like childcare affordable for families with extenuating circumstances, as well as the local nonprofit MEND. 

MEND Hunger Relief Network is the largest hunger relief network in Essex County. MEND will receive 20 percent, or up to $5,000 of the race proceeds, as the recipient of the Ellie Gianni Community Impact Grant. The award is named in memory of Ellie Gianni, aka “the Duck Lady,” who started the Duck Race 21 years ago.

With many people relying on food pantries to feed their families for the first time during COVID-19, MEND provided over 235,000 pounds of supplemental fresh and healthy food during the crisis. 

“MEND is honored to be selected as the inaugural Ellie Gianni Impact Grant Recipient, and to partner with the South Mountain YMCA on this annual beloved event that brings so much joy to all who attend,” said Robin Peacock, Executive Director of MEND. “As we continue to support and strengthen local food pantries, and to increase fresh food access for all, we are mindful that this work would not be possible without the incredible support we have received from the community (including the YMCA, which opened up its gym to us at the beginning of the pandemic so that we could continue to ramp up hunger relief efforts despite not having a physical space of our own at the time). Ms. Gianni’s giving spirit shines through her daughter, Claire, who serves on our Board, and we are extremely grateful for the impact their entire family has made locally.”

“My family is so grateful to have this impact grant named for my mom. She would be so honored to know that her memory is living on in the good that others are doing for the community,” said Claire Gianni Sinclair.

The Duck Race will be combined with a duck themed Healthy Kids Day, the Y’s other long-standing annual tradition and national event, typically held in April. 

For sponsorship opportunities, volunteering or more information,  contact 2021 Duck Race Committee Chair Denyse Reed (, Executive Director James Goodger ( or visit



Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.

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