By all accounts, Wednesday's kickoff of the first annual Healdsburg Sunrise Rotary was very auspicious.
"It's been a huge success," said Jesse Shaw, event organizer for the Rotary Club's inaugural July 4 celebration. "We're hoping to have it be an annual event."
NOTE: Check back later on Patch for a list of winners and more photos of the kids' parade costume contest and a list of winners of the Duck Dash.
Shaw estimated more than 4,000 tickets were sold -- at $5 each or five for $20 -- for the "Duck Dash," which is likely to become the Rotary's main annual fundraiser, he said.
With the top prize a trip for four to Washington, D.C., or $5,000 cash, competition was intense.
Click on the PDF attached to this article for a list of prizes.
Proceeds from the dash will go to finance Healdsburg Sunrise Rotary community and educational projects in Healdsburg, Shaw said.
Shaw said Rotary organizers had to cut off ticket sales at the end because there wasn't time for the complex data entry required. Each of the 5,000 plastic ducks in the race had to have a number attached corresponding to a ticket holder.
Three "heats" of the dash were held in a water chute, with the first 200 or 300 ducks making the semifinals and then the finals cutoff. About 400 ducks were left for the final "heat" at 3:30 p.m.
Other events, such as the kids' parade, were also well-received.
"This is so exciting -- and it's only the first year," said Beverly Liberman, wife of event co-organizer Herb Liberman.
With the launch of the Rotary picnic, Healdsburg now has a full-on, almost 24-hour July 4th community celebration. That was recognized by a Healdsburg City Council proclamation earlier this year naming July 4 as "Healdsburg Old-Fashioned Community Celebration Day."
Click on photos to see the proclamation.
Starting with a the day's celebration now includes the Sunrise Rotary Picnic, Kids' Parade and Duck Dash from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by the at Healdsburg High School at 9:30 p.m.
Check back later on Patch for fireworks coverage.