Havre de Grace's annual Duck Drop to focus on breast cancer awareness

Those who come to Havre de Grace's annual Duck Drop this year might think the city is viewing the New Year through rose-colored glasses.

That's because the theme of the city's upcoming New Year's party will be all things pink, including a pink duck to be dropped to "quack" in 2013.

"We decided to dedicate it to breast cancer awareness," Ed Grainger, who helped arrange the event, explained about the pink theme Wednesday.

Instead of the War of 1812 or the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which previous Duck Drops have honored, "this year the focus is going to be the color pink," Granger said Wednesday.

Besides a pink lighted duck and fireworks, this New Year's Eve party by the Havre de Grace Middle School will feature a DJ to entertain the crowds, as well as hot chocolate and cookies.

Attendees will be urged to make donations to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer organization by buying commemorative T-shirts and water bottles for about $15 and $5 each, respectively.

The event will also include something new that Grainger said residents will have to see for themselves.

"It's kind of a little bit more of a surprise, but there will be some more pink," he hinted.

The breast cancer theme hits close to home for Grainger, and he believes it will for many people attending.

Grainger said his aunt survived breast cancer and, more recently, his friend Karen Moretz of Fallston was diagnosed with breast cancer in January and has been dealing with surgery.

"She kind of inspired me earlier in the year to do this, and we decided to really sit down and decide what we wanted to do," he said of Moretz.

"All of us know of someone who has gone through that," Granger added.

The Duck Drop typically draws between 500 and 1,000 people to spend their New Year's Eve watching the unique Havre de Grace tradition.

"Of course, we are going to have the fireworks and the DJ is new this year, so we are going to have someone playing music and announcing things," Granger said.

He is also hopeful the Komen organization will have some representatives in attendance, but in any case, the event will provide literature on breast cancer for visitors to take.

Scott Hurst, chief of Susquehanna Hose Company, which also helps put the Duck drop together, said many T-shirts have already been sold and he hopes to raise a few thousand more dollars for Susan G. Komen.

When Grainger suggested the theme, Hurst agreed it made perfect sense.

"I just thought it was a great idea. Everyone had someone in their family stricken by cancer," Hurst said.

He said the event has grown each year and believes it could continue to grow.

Last year, he noted, "me and the mayor just sat discussing how big it's gotten, maybe even the traffic we have."

"So many more people are starting to come out each year for it," Hurst said about the Duck Drop. "It's definitely going to be different this year than in years past – a lot of upgrades."

Hurst was quick to add the success of the event brings many visitors to the city each year.

"It's great for Havre de Grace. Susquehanna Hose loves doing it," he said.

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