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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]

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Scandal! 12 Camels Were Disqualified from a Saudi Arabia Beauty Contest Over Botox Allegations
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FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s central Riyadh Region has been roiled by an animal show scandal straight from a Christopher Guest film. As NPR reports, around a dozen camels were disqualified from a beauty contest at the annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival because their handlers illegally plumped their features with Botox injections.

The month-long Camel Festival in Al Dhana, Saudi Arabia, runs through February 1, 2018, and features around 30,000 camels. The animals participate in races, an obedience competition, and a beauty contest. Nearly $57 million in prize money rides on these high-stakes events, and owners preen their prized steeds accordingly with massages, hairspray, and—as it turns out—banned cosmetic surgery procedures, according to The Telegraph.

Camels in the ungulate pageant are judged on whether they have long necks, enlarged lips and noses, a big head, and defined humps. The criteria evidently drove some owners to desperate measures: Shortly before the Camel Festival kicked off, officials discovered that a vet had been injecting some participating camels with botulism.

The vet is receiving heat, but he’s by no means the only competitor to use illegal tactics, according to United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National. In addition to Botox injections and collagen fillers, some sneaky handlers darken their animals’ coats with oil, rely on hormone injections for enhanced muscularity, and stretch the camels' lips by hand to elongate their appearance. And while large facial features are considered desirable, large lobes aren’t, so the guilty vet’s humped charges also received ear reductions.

Officials can ban enhanced camels from entering future beauty competitions, and owners can face possible legal recourse for violating animal welfare laws. Some breeders have called for cheaters to face stronger punishments, like a fine, which is already applied to drug-enhanced racing camels. As for now, the 12 camels who went under the needle are now under the microscope.

[h/t NPR]

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LEGO Wants to Turn Your Space-Themed Design Into a New Set
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LEGO wants to turn your out-of-this-world brick design into a reality as part of a new contest calling for space exploration-themed concepts. The winning entry in the LEGO Moments in Space competition will be transformed into a real-life LEGO set that the company will give away as a promotional "gift with purchase" product.

As part of the contest, LEGO is inviting designers ages 13 and up to create what the company describes as “the ultimate space model." The design can be realistic or based on science fiction, as long as it follows a few important guidelines. The final assembled product must be made from around 300 basic pieces, and it can't be too big. It has to be able to fit on a 16-stud-by-16-stud LEGO baseplate inside one of the smaller LEGO boxes. The designs can feature stickers, but they have to be decals from old LEGO sets.

Participants can submit entries for the “LEGO Moments in Space” contest either in the form of digital renderings or photos of real-life projects through February 9, 2018. Fans can vote for the top 25 builds on the LEGO Ideas site, and then a special panel will select the grand-prize winner and 10 runner-ups. The results will be revealed to the public on March 2, 2018.

The winner will not only have the opportunity to see their design made into a real product in 2019, but will also receive a $250 online LEGO shopping spree and a curated collection of LEGO's previous "gift with purchase" sets. Get more information about entering the contest on the LEGO Ideas website.

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