Winners of This Small Town's Silly Rubber Duck Race Are Awarded a Serious Prize

Think you’re a lucky duck? On Saturday, May 7, you can put your good fortune to the test by competing in the annual “Ducky Wucky River Race” in Harvard, Massachusetts. The town’s contest may sound silly, but it offers the winner a serious prize: an all-expenses paid trip for two to anywhere in the world, complete with a fancy meal, the Boston Globe reports.

Each year, the Ayer Rotary Club—a philanthropic organization serving the Massachusetts communities of Ayer, Harvard, Shirley, and Devens—uses a construction vehicle to dump thousands of numbered ducks into the nearby Nashua River. The rubber birds float downstream along a lengthy course, and cross a finish line. In turn, people who purchase a single duck for $5.50, five for $21, or 13 for $42 are given tickets with numbers that corresponds to one of the toys.

If your duck wins the race, you and a loved one are treated to the vacation of a lifetime, complete with free airfare, a two-night stay at a hotel, and a feast. (Sadly, alcohol is no longer included, after a past winner reportedly spent too much money on French wine.)

“People have gone to some pretty amazing places. It really captures the imagination,” Jason Kauppi, a member of the Ayer Rotary Club, told the Boston Globe. Last year’s winner went to Venice; others have reportedly traveled to Paris, Tokyo, Dublin, Australia, Indonesia, and South Africa. Funds from the event are also donated to charity, or used for school books and scholarships.

Harvard residents have tried their luck with the “Ducky Wucky River Race” for more than 20 years. The event is part of the town’s annual Apple Blossom Festival, a day-long spring celebration with street vendors, food, and entertainment.

Interested in seeing if your good fortune is all it's quacked up to be? This year's Ducky Wucky River Race will be held a Still River Depot Road, Harvard, on May 7, at 4 p.m. Participants can purchase ducks online. Visit the event’s website for official contest rules—and make sure to check out some of the fantastic runner-up prizes donated by local organizations.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

Banner image courtesy of iStock.

How to Win a Year of Free Flights From JetBlue

JetBlue has an enticing offer for anyone resolving to travel more in 2018: Customers who book a non-refundable flight before December 15 will be automatically entered to win the airline's All You Can Jet Pass, Thrillist reports. That means a full year of free unlimited flights to 100 destinations in the U.S. and beyond.

If you already have, or are planning to, purchase a flight in the first half of December, no further steps are required: You're automatically in the running to receive one of the three available passes. And if you have no upcoming flights to book but a bad case of wanderlust, you’re also invited to enter. To do so, just mail a letter with your full printed name, address, phone numbers, and email address to: All You Can Jet Sweepstakes, Centra 360, 1400 Old Country Road, Suite 417, Westbury, NY 11590.

The randomly selected winner can start flying for free as soon as February 1, 2018.

All You Can Jet Pass flyers won’t be able to book multiple flights departing from the same city on the same day, and change and cancellation fees will still apply. Other than that, they can travel without limitations. Travelers get a complimentary plus-one for each flight they book, and they’re free to change their travel companion from trip to trip. There are zero blackout dates, so even on the busiest travel days of the year, winners can fly without paying a cent.

The free year of travel ends January 31, 2019. If they’re smart with their time, it’s possible for winners to visit every one of JetBlue's 100 destinations, including Jamaica, Los Angeles, and the Dominican Republic, by the time their pass expires. The only thing they'll need to worry about is finding the energy for all that travel.

[h/t Thrillist]

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez
Help NASA Name the Farthest Object We've Ever Tried to Reach in Space
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez

More than two years after NASA's New Horizons probe whisked by Pluto, the robotic spacecraft continues to zip toward the furthest edges of the solar system in pursuit of history's farthest planetary encounter. It's heading toward the Kuiper Belt, a ring-shaped region beyond Neptune's orbit that contains dwarf planets like Pluto and perhaps several hundred thousand other icy bodies. The target is a tiny world that New Horizons is scheduled to pass on New Year's Day 2019. As of now, it's simply called MU69—but NASA and the New Horizons team want you to help them come up with a more memorable moniker, the Associated Press reports.

You can cast your vote for MU69's new title in an online naming contest, which opened up to the public in November and closes on December 1, 2017, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. There's no limit to the number of votes you submit, although contest organizers request that you do so no more than once per day.

Names to chose from include Año Nuevo ("New Year" in Spanish), Pluck & Persistence, and Peanut, Almond, or Cashew, the last three of which could describe MU69's potential shape. So far, Mjölnir, a.k.a. Thor's Hammer, is in the lead, according to the latest vote tally.

Participants can also suggest new names via this form. All languages are fair game, so long as they're written using the Latin alphabet, but researchers do say they're "particularly interested in nicknames that are appropriate for the first exploration of a cold, distant, ancient world at the outer frontier of the solar system." (Religious, political, and commercial names aren't allowed.)

NASA also recommends submitting two or more names that go together, since preliminary observations have indicated that MU69 might be a binary, or two astronomical bodies harnessed together by their mutual gravitational forces. If they're a "contact binary"—meaning they're touching—only one name will be needed, but a separated pair will call for two.

Once New Horizons flies by MU69, the mission team will propose a formal name for the body to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). That said, NASA still has final say over MU69's forever title—so even if a certain submission receives the most votes, it still needs to be vetted by officials. In short, you probably can't name it Planet McPlanetface.

Still, researchers say they're excited to involve the public in the naming process and hope to land on a name "that captures the excitement of the flyby and awe and inspiration of exploring this new and record-distant body in space," said Alan Stern, principal investigator for the New Horizons team, in a statement.

[h/t Associated Press]


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