If the Chicago River looked yellow to you today, don’t worry, you’re not losing your mind. At 1pm, 60,000 rubber duckies were dumped into the river—yes, rubber duckies as in “Ernie from Sesame Street’s Best Friend” rubber duckies.
This friendly contest of bathtime friends is a yearly event thrown by Special Olympics Illinois. Supporters could adopt a duck for $5 a pop, a Quack Pack of 6 for $25 or even the Diamond Duck Pack (240 ducks for $1,000) for the very generous (or just those who really, really wanted a winning duck).
The ducks cascaded into the river at the Columbus Drive bridge and raced about 200 meters west towards Michigan Ave. By “raced” I mean “floated aimlessly,” but thankfully huge hoses blasted them in the right direction. Hundreds of spectators watched with bated breath to see if their duck had what it takes to win the gold.
Of course, most importantly, the ducks helped Special Olympics Illinois raise thousands of dollars for Illinois’ Paralympic athletes. The organization holds particular relevance this week, with the 2016 Olympic Games kicking off this Friday.
Check out the Instagram hashtag #chiduckyderby for duckies as far as the eye can see.