By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – The Hudson Rotary Club is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Lucky Duck Race to benefit its scholarship fund and community service programs. This year, some of the proceeds will go toward creating a memorial for Hudson’s favorite son, Argeo Paul Cellucci, former Massachusetts governor and ambassador to Canada.
The Lucky Duck Race will take place Saturday, June 6, in conjunction with the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce’s (AVCC) 29th annual Hudson Community Fest, noted Justin Provencher, the Rotary Club’s publicity chair.
“It adds an exciting atmosphere to the festival for kids to see the decorated corporate ducks that are sponsored by local businesses,” he said. “And they enjoy watching the ducks getting dropped off the bridge and coming down the river.”
Numbered rubber ducks are dumped from the Washington Street Bridge into the Assabet River. Ducks float to the finish line at the Broad Street Bridge. Ticket buyers of the five fastest ducks win $1,500, $1,000, $500, $150 and $50.
Last year, a record-breaking 2,952 tickets were sold. Tickets are available for $5 each or three for $10 at the AVCC office in Hudson, Knight’s Fuel, Lemire Insurance, Sullivan Optometry, Tuck’s Service Center, and at the club’s festival booth.
The Corporate Duck Race features 15-inch decoys for a $60 donation. Winners in recent years have received gift cards to area eateries, Provencher noted.
“Businesses have the options to decorate the duck or have a school student decorate it for them, or they can race the duck down the river,” he explained.
Part of the proceeds will go toward scholarships for graduates of Hudson and Assabet Valley Regional Technical high schools. The club also decided to help fund a Cellucci memorial with proceeds from the Lucky Duck Race, and the Spirit of Hudson Food & Brewfest co-hosted by the Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley. About 1,800 guests attended last year. The third annual event is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Avidia Bank parking lot on South Street.
“We’ve been very fortunate raising money with our activities, so we can pay for this project to honor Paul Cellucci,” Provencher said.
Discussions among townspeople and elected officials for the most appropriate way to memorialize Cellucci began over a year ago. A consideration has been a parklet on the Church Street side of the Hudson Town Hall lawn. Rotarians are making that concept come to fruition.
“Lee Dinner, a Hudson Rotarian, spearheaded putting the idea in place,” Provencher said.
Also helping to prepare the project are architect Glenn Davis and Charles J. Precourt & Son, Inc.
The memorial will include a granite patio with two benches. An inscription on the benches will read in part, “His life was dedicated to the principle of public service and the people of Hudson were forever in his heart.”
Prior to serving as governor, Cellucci’s political career began as a Hudson selectman, state representative and senator. After a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he launched the UMass ALS Champion Fund in 2011. ALS took his life at age 65 in 2013 and his renamed campaign continues as the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund.
A walkway leading to the memorial will be constructed with a limited number of inscribed bricks, which can be purchased by Hudson residents and business owners for $75 each. For information, contact Dinner at Wright Jewelry or Dr. Garrett Sullivan at Sullivan Optometry.
Provencher added, “The memorial will be a nice addition in front of the Town Hall, where people can reflect on all the great work Paul gave to our community.”
Follow the Hudson Rotary Club on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/HudsonRotaryClub?fref=ts