CHICAGO — The annual “Ducky Derby” raised nearly $600,000 for Special Olympics Illinois last week, which broke a record for the event.

Crowds gathered along the Chicago River downtown Thursday to watch and see which rubber ducky made it to Michigan Avenue first.

People paid $5 a duck to be part of the fun and 100,000 ducks were up for “adoption” this year.

The derby is a signature event for Special Olympics Illinois and one of its largest fundraisers of the year.

In 2022, the event raised over $431,000. This year broke the record with nearly $600,000 raised and donations are still processing.

2023 Ducky Derby, courtesy Special Olympics Illinois

“We are humbled by the outpouring response from the community,” says Dave Breen, President & CEO, Special Olympics Illinois. “The Chicago Ducky Derby is not possible without the unwavering support from the city of Chicago, our donors, the community, our sponsors, all the staff and volunteers, and participants. The success of this event is a true testament to why we do what we do – to raise more resources to improve our athlete experience and increase and expand our Special Olympics Illinois community.”

If you missed the race, you can still donate at