MILTON-FREEWATER — Participants of today’s third and final day of the 32nd annual Muddy Frogwater Festival will feast their eyes on a sight that probably has never rolled through this area.
This year, the Kiwanis Club will introduce a new fundraiser — a derby that is expected to roll in about $1,000 in profits.
How will the winners of today’s derby will be chosen?
You might say by the bounce of the ball, all 2,000 of them.
“We have had ducky races before and darn near got people drowned,” Kiwanis fundraiser co-chair Andy Millar said, noting how one time a volunteer’s waders got caught under water.
Millar added it’s been about a decade since the Kiwanis of Milton-Freewater have held a duck derby.
And last year the Kiwanis didn’t have a Muddy Frogwater fundraiser.
This year, however, the Kiwanis will join other community service organizations that boost their clubs coffers at the event, mostly through food sales.
Last year the chamber raised about $14,000 from vendor booths, memorabilia sales and its Sunday afternoon corn and watermelon feed.
The Elks raised money with a breakfast fundraiser, and the Rotarians had a Saturday afternoon chicken barbecue.
That’s too much work for Kiwanis fundraiser co-chair Kathy Mobley, who prefers the unusual approach that Kiwanis will use.
“This is easier than cooking. It’s a lot easier. The cleanup is easier,” Mobley said.
Then again, nobody knows for sure how long it will take Kiwanis volunteers to clean up 2,000 golf balls after they have been let loose to roll down the steep slope of College Street to the intersection of Southwest Sixth Avenue.
The Kiwanis won’t be the first to use a golf ball derby roll to raise money. Though most golf ball derbys use a helicopter to drop the balls.
For Muddy Frogwater, there wasn’t a suitable location where the balls could be dropped safely, Millar said.
“The problem with the helicopter is when you drop those golf balls they bounce, and the further they come down that hill, they would keep bouncing and get a bigger bounce each time,” Millar added.
So instead, the balls will be boxed up, shuffled around and then poured out onto College Street, about a block up the hill from Yantis Park.
At Sixth Avenue, a special barrier will separate the first five balls into a collection funnel.
Then the balls will be collected and used again next year, in theory.
A full test-run has yet to be made. And at 1.6 ounces per ball, 2,000 balls could end up becoming a 200-pound mass of balls rolling and bouncing downhill.
So where did the Kiwanis get all those balls.
Mobley said it took volunteers about two months to call dozens of golfers to see if they had any old balls laying around.
“I even saw a few range balls in there, but we don’t have to tell anybody,” Kiwanis member Terry Hackney said, as he volunteered at the Kiwanis Golf Ball Derby booth on Saturday.
As for ticket sales, by 11 a.m. 1,500 tickets had been sold, and the remaining 500 are expect to sell out today.
The official Kiwanis Golf Ball Derby will take place at 2:45 p.m.
If there are still tickets left, they will be available at the Kiwanis booth until 1 p.m.
Other Muddy Frogwater activities today include a three-on-three basketball tournament at 8 a.m.; community worship service at 10 a.m.; square dance at 11 a.m.; Talent of the Valley finals from 12:30-3 p.m.; and firemen’s water fight from 3-4 p.m.
The Muddy Frogwater Country Classec Festival takes place at the southeast section of Yantis Park off of DeHaven Street.