Perry Haley, a local agronomist and PACE volunteer, ferries his bounty of rescued rubber ducks on Saturday, after the wind and the current conspired to hijack the start of Saturday's annual Lucky Ducky Race for PACE. Thousands of rubber ducks veered off course and the mighty Manatee river threatened to carry them out into the great unknown.
Hilarity ensued, and like something out of a scene from Sesame Street's, "Do De Rubber Duck," a cast of would-be marine rescuers swung into action, wielding nets and taking to the river in anything that could float.
After the initial panic and confusion died down, piles of ducks were safely returned to the starting line, and the race resumed.
To be fair, there was some grumbling from the spectators. Fingers were pointed. A few gasps arose from the sidelines. Each little duck was, after all, inscribed with a number which could guarantee a small fortune in free groceries - the driving force behind the fundraiser.
But in the end the stars of the day were not the ducks themselves but rather the volunteers - and chiefly among them the crew of husbands and fathers who endured, without complaint, the frigid waters and rubber ducky-hijinks to help bring a beloved fundraiser to a successful finish.