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Beyond Earth Day - Rubber Duck Races Star
Rubber duck races on the Stanislaus River were a star attraction at Saturday's Beyond Earth Day, from the crowd's roar as the ducks tumbled like yellow confetti from the bridge to the excitement as firefighters scooped up leaders from their rescue boat, and organizers scrambled back up the bank to announce the winners.

Visitors to the Jacob Myers Park event put down $3 each to rent a toy duck in hopes of winning a cash prize of $100, $50 or $25. The annual event brings in $200 to $300 and the proceeds go to fund summer movies and other activities put on by Friends of the Park, said member Scott McRitchie.

Winners, placing first through third in Saturday's three races, included, in the first race, Ashley Mayberry, Kay Austin and Rosemarie (last name unavailable); second race - Eunice Lovi, Jamie Gutierrez with Easton Wilson and Uriah Lopez; third race - Daniella Saavedra, Hector Gomez and Jill Anderson.

Anderson is a newcomer to this peculiar Riverbank amusement. She is the new city manager and fresh in town.

Flowers and plants in pots were much in evidence at the event. Adults and children alike wandered between the booths proudly carrying sprouting, green plants they had often potted themselves.

Gilton Solid Waste Management Company again had a popular booth where children could pack soil into a biodegradable pot, soak it with water and carry off a young tomato plant to their home. Riverbank Community Gardens also was giving away pots, each planted with a flower seed of their customer's choice.

Morris Nursery was presenting each child with a free potted marigold and selling other flower and vegetable starts for a few dollars apiece.

Modesto's Center for Human Services had a booth promoting CalFresh, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, that helps people of low income buy nutritious food. Most grocery stores take CalFresh benefits that come on an electronic card like a bank card.

San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Control Board representatives had information promoting clean air and Pacific Gas & Electric Company was giving out pamphlets on energy conservation.

A private company, Acro Electric, was promoting a program it runs with PG&E to encourage residents with an electric bill of more than $150 a month to switch to solar energy to power their home.

The Pet Alliance was giving information on its low cost spay and neuter program and had even brought some dogs for adoption. Two of them had been adopted that morning and another dog was being walked by a couple trying to reach a decision on adoption, said Alliance member Debi Scoles.

The Alliance booth carried some sobering information on what happens when cats are allowed to breed without control. An unspayed female cat with its mate and offspring, producing two litters a year with a 2.8 kitten survival rate per litter will produce 12 cats in the first year, 376 in three years, 2,107 in four years, 11,801 in five years and 2,072,514 in eight years.

Riverbank's own Prime Shine car wash business was demonstrating how it saves water by extensive use of recycling and filtering equipment.

Siemens had set up a car charging station for electric vehicles and Central Valley Nissan was displaying its 2012 Nissan "Leaf" vehicle.

River Journey Rafting was giving kayak rides on the river and the Army Corps of Engineers was handing out water safety information and inviting all to play a game promoting use of lifejackets.

Entertainment besides the duck races included demonstrations of zumba and hula dancing plus drummers presented by the Riverbank Cultural Center.