A Human Duck Race will be one of the highlights of an Earth Day celebration to benefit the environment and local charities.

The fifth annual Quack-A-Falaya will be presented by the Covington Rotary Club on April 20 at Bogue Falaya Wayside Park, 213 Park Drive, Covington.

In addition to the inaugural Human Duck Race and Paddle for Charity, in which contestants dress like ducks and paddle to raise money for their favorite charity, there will be a river cleanup, a duck costume contest and the rubber duck race.

“The event is always held the Saturday closest to Earth Day,” said Elizabeth Van Sant, past president of the Covington Rotary.

It’s not easy to wrangle 1,500 rubber ducks, she said, but they have a lot of laughs, with local Rotarians in boats keeping the ducks headed to the goal line.

She and incoming President Jon Henderson are helping to organize the event, which will benefit projects the Covington Rotary Foundation supports, including Boys and Girls Club of Greater Covington, Keep Covington Beautiful, Miracle League Northshore, NAMI St. Tammany, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Safe Haven.

The event moves this year to Bogue Falaya Park because of a major upgrade there.

“The genesis of the idea is to draw attention to the importance of water,” Van Sant said, and to the role of the Bogue Falaya River in the history of Covington. “It’s to support clean water and to get people on the water.”

Quack-A-Falaya begins with the waterway clean up at 8 a.m. that will launch from the Menetre Park public boat launch at East Fourth Avenue. Paddlers will make their way to the park while picking up trash from the waterway. Keep Covington Beautiful will provide the trash bags and grabbers.

Volunteers can bring their own paddle boats, or Canoe and Trail Adventures will provide canoes for all who sign up in advance. Free rentals are also available for the cleanup at Massey's Outfitters Northshore.

The signature event of Quack-a-Falaya is the race of 1,500 rubber ducks on the river. The sponsor of the winning duck gets $1,500.

Over the years, people had begun sporting duck costumes, so this year, to add to the fun, the event is starting a special paddle race for humans in duck costumes.

Anyone who wants to raise money for their favorite charity is invited to register for the inaugural Human Duck Race and Paddle for Charity, which will be held at 10:30 a.m. 

“Essentially, the idea is for members of charity boards to put up $250 on behalf of their charity and then have a board member or community friends dress up like a duck and paddle like crazy against other charity representatives,” Van Sant said.

They can paddle any craft from the park and turn around at the buoy to finish back at the launch site. Charities must have a 501(c)(3) status and be named in advance.

“We pool all of those funds, and the winner of the Human Duck Race gets half the pot for their designated charity. The remainder stays with the Covington Rotary Foundation,” she said.

After the race, the duck costume contest will be judged by the Rotary Youth Exchange Students from Romania and Colombia who are attending high schools in the Covington area. Three winners will take home bragging rights and original artwork of the Bogue Falaya River Snake by former Covington Mayor Keith Villere.

For the 11 a.m. rubber duck race on the Bogue Falaya, the public can buy tickets for a duck online or from a member of the Covington Rotary, Northlake Mandeville or Mid City Rotary Clubs, as well as Covington High Interact Club and Tulane Rotaract.

There are prizes for the first 10 ducks to cross the finish line. The fastest duck’s owner wins $1,500 and the winner need not be present. Second prize is a signed 50th anniversary Saints football. There will be Saints and LSU tickets and more. Winners will be awarded at a special event on April 20.

The cost is $20 and ducks can be sponsored at www.eventbrite.com/e/5th-annual-quack-a-falaya-rubber-duck-race-tickets-54657330547.

For information, email quackafalaya@gmail.comor covrotary@gmail.com.