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Rhythms at the River Walk

Flower Mound's Charitable Event of the Season Just Keeps Getting Better

Article by Stephanie Hasbrouck

Photography by Mixed Media Creations

Originally published in Cross Timbers Lifestyle

On Saturday, Sept. 17, Flower Mound residents will gather at the River Walk to enjoy live music, tasty food, activities and a massive (rubber) duck derby. For the past five years, Rhythms at the River Walk has brought joy to the community and raised thousands of dollars for local charities.

“In the first meeting of the six founders of the Cross Timbers Rotary in May 2015, we brainstormed about a fundraiser. We were dreaming at the time, but we knew we wanted something big and regional at the River Walk,” says Ginger Eads, 2019-2020 Cross Timbers Rotary President and Charter Member. A few years later, Rhythms at the River Walk was conceptualized, and Rotary members decided to use the waterway at the River Walk to conduct a duck derby to raise money. “The rest is history,” Ginger says. “We held our first fundraiser in September of 2018, racing 14,952 ducks and netted $62,000.”

The inaugural event raised more than double the amount organizers anticipated. 

“It really was unbelievable,” Ginger says. “The best part is giving our proceeds to local charitable partners so they can continue their good works in our community.”

Each year the event has grown, says Jim Moll, 2022-2023 Cross Timbers Rotary Club President and Charter Member. “We have continued to add music, food and fun to create an event the Town of Flower Mound can be proud of,” he says. “This year we are planning to race more than 30,000 rubber duckies.”

Community members donate money to adopt ducks to participate in the event. “Approximately $4 of every duck sold goes directly to area charitable organizations,” Jim says.

“In the first four years of our event, we’ve been able to raise well over $325,000 toward helping local non-profit organizations. Our hope is to give even more out in 2023 as a result of the 2022 event,” says Nicole Smith Woodard, 2022-2023 Cross Timbers Rotary Club President-Elect and Co-Chair of the Rhythms at the River Walk Sponsorship Committee.

“With the funds that are raised from the event, Cross Timbers Rotary Club awards grants to local non-profits through a grant application process each spring,” Nicole explains.

Past grant recipients include Adaptive Training Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas, Cloud 9 Charities, Communities in Schools of North Texas, Crazy Cool Family, Cross Timbers YMCA, Cumberland Youth and Family Services, Denton County Friends of the Family, Grace Like Rain, Hearts for Homes, Journey to Dream, Lewisville ISD Education Foundation, Span Inc./Meals on Wheels of Denton County, Metroport Meals on Wheels, Our Daily Bread, Ranch Hands Rescue, Refuge for Women – North Texas, Sower of Seeds, Winning the Fight and Your Home Team Cares.

“Further – we partner with our grant recipients through a program called Buck-A-Duck, where the non-profit sells ducks, and the Club gives $1 for each duck sold by the non-profit organization to them right way. It’s a win/win for all involved,” Nicole says.

The easiest way to purchase a duck is by visiting Some Duck Adoption Pop-Ups can be found around the community. Cross Timbers Rotary Club members also sell ducks.

For those who have not seen the derby, it is a sight to behold. “Thirty-thousand rubber ducks will be released from the top of the waterfall,” Jim explains. “From there, they will ‘race’ to the finish line over two additional waterfalls.”

The first 10 finishers of the Duck Derby will win Visa Gift Cards with a top prize of $2,500. Participants do not have to be present to win. But why miss the opportunity to cheer for your duck?

While the ducks race along the River Walk waterway, attendees can enjoy live music, food, shopping and children’s activities.

Rotarian of the Year and 2022 Duck Commander Bruce Schultes vividly describes the day … “When you first arrive at the event, your senses may become overwhelmed. Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice is your ability to park right inside the event. No walking for several minutes or riding a bus to get to the activities. Because you’re so close to the event already, your sense of smell may tingle first. Is it the aroma of the five-star restaurants or the numerous food trucks making your mouth water? Maybe you’ll see the hundreds of children playing in the ‘Kid Zone.’ With face painting, bounce houses, mini-duck races and numerous other activities available, children of all ages will not be disappointed. Maybe you’ll hear the sound of music coming from several different directions. Maybe you’ll feel the vibrant anticipation of 30,000 ducks ready to race toward the finish line…”

One thing is for sure, Rhythms at the River Walk is a celebration not to be missed. And it just keeps getting better, year after year.