After Great Duck Race, one bird still needs a home

WESTPORT— This year’s Great Duck Race had a special guest — a 6-foot tall, 3D-printed duck.

The multicolored, crowd-sourced duck, envisioned by Westport Maker Faire founder Mark Mathias, was completed in late April by the organization and includes pieces mailed in from around the world.

Mathias, who is also a Sunrise Rotary Club member, saw the project as an opportunity for both groups to promote Westport, and decided the duck would be displayed at the rotary’s biggest annual charity event on the Parker Harding Plaza on Saturday afternoon.

Mathias said the goal was to attract people to Westport, for them to see “Connecticut and Westport as being innovative, as being creative, as being a place perhaps they never thought of before, as an economic driver for the state.”

That might have been the case for Nerissa Holder Hall, from Brooklyn, N.Y., who went along with her husband Dirk and children Vivienne and Dean. The couple have been considering Westport for their next move, hoping to live somewhere with more grass and less noise.

The family also saw Sunny, the giant inflatable duck, at the Westport Library and decided to check it out. Sunny didn’t make it into the water for the race, however, due to balancing complications.

Although they haven’t fully decided, Nerissa said,“Every time we come we like it even more than the last time.”

As in previous years, the rotary club delivered a fun-filled family day on the Saugatuck River, selling rubber ducks to help neighbors in need and offering prizes of up to $5,000.

The winner of that prize was Westport’s own Susan Witko.

While the club doesn’t have exact numbers yet, it is estimated it sold nearly 2,700 tickets which were $20 each, according to rotary club president Eileen Flug.

Flug said the money goes directly to more than 20 local and international charities. Some include Person to Person, Burroughs Community Center and Child Advocates of Connecticut, to name a few.

Other events that day included a face-painting table, Maker Faire Nerdy Derby food stands, an antique firetruck and a map showing regions of the world from which the 476-piece 3D duck came from.

Although titled the world’s largest 3D-printed duck, it hasn’t been officially recognized as such. Mathias was notified by a Guiness Book of World Records representative that in order to be qualified for the world’s biggest, it needs to have 2-meter dimensions all around, but the duck falls short in width.

Even so, with its “niche” category, Mathias said he doesn’t think anyone else has attempted to create the same thing and couldn’t find any while searching online.

Only now, the duck has fulfilled its purpose and he isn’t sure where it’ll go, adding he hopes someone in a museum or corporate office would take the large bird structure.