OGDEN -- Ernie, the popular Sesame Street singer of the "Rubber Duckie" song, would have had a heyday had he been in Ogden on Saturday.
There, 1,040 small rubber ducks -- nearly every one of them yellow, were dropped into the Ogden River near the Ogden Bridge at noon as part of the ninth annual Mt. Ogden Rubber Duck Race.
The ducks, poured from two large garbage cans before dozens of onlookers, hit the river with a splat and a dive before forming a slow-moving yellow blotch on the surface of the water.
The race, just a five-block float from Washington Boulevard to the children's park just off Grant Avenue, was on.
But cheering from the bank was subdued, where onlookers trekking the Ogden River Parkway to follow their duck downstream didn't know which duck was whose.
Each duck wore on its bottom a number to identify which corresponding sponsor paid the duck's $5 race entry fee.
"I love it. It's a lot of fun for kids and adults," said Farr West resident Matt Nelson, a first-time participant who in order to help volunteers had positioned himself in the river at the finish line.
There Nelson, in denim shorts soaked at the knee, corralled and then flipped rubber ducks onto the river bank to keep them from making their way downstream.
To be environmentally friendly, race organizers also followed the ducks downstream in a kayak, knocking them free of whirlpools and eddies and recapturing the ducks for next year's event.
"We don't leave any ducks behind," said Rebecca Ory-Hernandez, president of the Mount Ogden Rotary Club, the race host.
The race took volunteers nearly three months to organize and the rubber ducks about 20 minutes to complete.
But the event is less about speed and more about need.
The annual event is to raise money for local charities and organizations, with the major share of this year's proceeds to go to the Dictionary Project, Ory-Hernandez said.
It is the goal of The Dictionary Project to put dictionaries in the hands of all third-graders in the Weber County and Ogden school districts, she said.
In addition, a portion of the proceeds will go toward the Boys and Girls Club of Weber-Davis, Ory-Hernandez said.
This year's race featured over $5,000 in prizes, with the grand prize a one-year season pass to Snowbasin Ski Resort.
"The event is growing. Last year we didn't get all of our ducks adopted out," said Clayton Anderson, co-chair of this year's race with Rick Merschdorf.
"If I win, I win a bunch of prizes," Layton 7-year-old Kayman Hulse said of having an entry in the race.
"I like all boy's colors, but I like one girl's color -- and that is yellow, he said of the ducks.
But it wasn't just kids who were ducky over the event.
Nancy Grout, 75, of Mesa, Ariz., and Huntsville, said she adopted six ducks for the race because her husband Jerry Grout is a longtime member of the Rotary Club, and the club does so much good for the world.
"Those little ducks do their part," she said with a smile.
North Ogden resident Monte King, who was eating with his family on the patio of Slackwater Pizza and Pub, a race sponsor, said he was unaware of the event until crowds began to gather in preparation of the duck dive. He said as a result he had to buy a couple of ducks being a big supporter of the Ogden area.
"Hopefully, I win a prize," he said.
After a successful fundraiser, the Ogden Rotary Club (like Sesame Street's Ernie) can say, "Rubber Duckie, I'm awfully fond of you."