The 35th annual Birch Bay Discovery Days festival, taking place Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20, will be mixing things up this year, with some new locations and new events to complement the parade and arts and crafts festival.
The Ducky Derby race will be moving to the Birch Bay Waterslides this year. Traditionally held in Terrell Creek, the Derby involves hundreds of rubber ducks being released into the creek, where they race to the finish to earn their sponsors a prize. This year, the ducks will be separated into heats and released down the drop slide and into the float-off area. Nancy Stull, a board member for the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce, said the move was partly to compensate for the unpredictable tides.
“We just weren’t sure what the tides were going to bring,” Stull said. “Last year we held the derby at 9 a.m. and we still had a minus tide, and they’re even lower this year.”
To help ease the transition, the Birch Bay Waterslides are offering a $10 voucher towards a Waterslides day pass for every duck purchased. Prizes for the derby are still being determined, but Stull said winners can expect gift certificates for restaurants, overnight stays at local hotels, gift baskets and T-shirts.
Participants can sponsor a duck for $5. Ducks can be purchased at the Birch Bay Visitor’s Center, or at the Waterslides at 9 a.m. on the day of the event. The Ducky Derby will take place on Sunday, June 20 at 10:30 a.m.
The Arts and Crafts Family Fun Festival is also being relocated. This year, the festival will take place behind The Sandcastle at Birch Bay Resort, at 7854 Birch Bay Drive. The festival was previously held behind CJ’s Beach House Restaurant on Birch Bay Drive, but is being relocated this year to allow for more parking and to give vendors access to the electrical hookups at Beachcombers RV Park.
Not everything will be changing, though. The Discovery Days parade will still be held along Birch Bay Drive, starting at The C Shop at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 19. Last year, approximately 5,000 people attended the Discovery Days festival and parade.