Planning underway for Columbia’s first Soda City Duck Race

Duck drop practice Friday afternoon. Karamie Sullivan photos.

The cold water in the Congaree River didn’t stop a small group of people from getting in Friday afternoon, to test  plans for Next Home Specialists’ first annual Soda City Duck Race.

There will be approximately 5,000 small rubber ducks dropped into the river by the West Columbia Amphitheater Sept. 16.

The ducks are “adoptable” for $5 each, and will come with a registration number. The ducks will be dropped all at once, and will float down the river for a distance. Prizes will be awarded to the owners of the first, second, and third ducks that cross the finish line. First prize will be $2,500, followed by second prize at $1,000, and third at $500.

Each time a duck is adopted for $5, another $5 will be donated to Transitions Homeless Center of Columbia. Transitions Vice President of Development Elizabeth Igleheart said the duck adoption will be starting August 1. A group of duck race representatives will be on the 1600 block of Main Street during Columbia’s First Thursday, August 2. “You’ll see a giant, five foot inflatable duck, you can’t miss it,” she said.

Members of Transitions, and Next Home Specialists got into the river Friday with two long ropes of swimming noodles to use as barriers in the water. Then about 25 rubber ducks were dropped between the ropes to see how well they floated between the two barriers and down to the finishing point. This was the first practice run for the ducks, and planners are still finalizing all the specifics of the race.

For those worried about potential ducks getting lost in the river, Igleheart said that the race will be completely environmentally safe. “We will account for each duck that is in the race and return it. They will be recycled,” she said.

For more information about the Soda City Duck Race and to adopt a duck, visit their website:

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Lexington County, Richland County, West Columbia