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Rubber Loons Let Loose in World’s First Made-in-U.S.A. Race

'Loon Drive' marks first use of American-made rubber waterfowl

A rubber loon race to be held in Newcomb Memorial Day Weekend will make history as the first race of its kind to use American-made rubber waterfowl.

"All the rubber duck manufacturing went overseas more than 30 years ago. Every duck race has used ducks made in China," said Craig Wolfe, president of CelebriDucks, the California company that manufactured 1,000 rubber loons for the event in Newcomb. "Except us. This loon race is the first one with ducks - or loons, actually - made in America."

The race, dubbed the "Loon Drive," is part of the Adirondack Interpretive Center's celebration of its first anniversary under the leadership of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). The race will highlight a daylong event called Loons and Logs, which focuses on the two most iconic symbols of human and natural history in the Adirondacks.

AIC Program Coordinator Paul Hai said the "Loon Drive" will be reminiscent of the log drives that used to clog nearby Rich Lake every spring with harvested trees being transported out of the forest and down the Hudson River to mills in Glens Falls.

The Loon Drive will begin at 3 p.m. May 26, when the loons, custom-designed by CelebriDucks and believed to be the world's first loons based on a traditional rubber duck concept, drop into the outlet and float 425 yards down the Rich Lake outlet Prizes will be awarded to those who sponsored the winning loons; other prizes will be awarded through a drawing. The proceeds will support educational programs at the AIC.

CelebriDucks's product was voted one of the top 100 gifts by Entertainment Weekly. The company has made ducks with pop culture and celebrity themes including Elvis Presley and The Wizard of Oz. Wolfe is often called upon by people wanting information about the history of the rubber duck and he is confident that, in addition to being the only company currently manufacturing the soft, traditional rubber ducks in the United States, CelebriDucks is the first to produce American-made ducks for a community race.

Hai said the selection of an American manufacturer was fitting for ESF, where programs focus exclusively on the environment. "We teach sustainability in all aspects of life," Hai said. "Using an American supplier made more sense to us than shipping rubber loons all the way from China and of course we are excited to support job creation here."

NCPR is the media sponsor for the Loons and Logs event.