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Quack-quack: duck race goes global

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One of the Cotswold’s strangest traditions is set to go international in 2023, as the Bibury Village Duck Race returns – with hundreds of tourists, and a new ‘live stream’ element, expected.

Now in its 35th year, the Bibury Duck Race has become a beloved tradition, attracting locals and visitors alike to the idyllic River Coln for a festive get-together. The event kicks off at 11 am when the starting guns signal the race’s beginning – and 3,000 rubber ducks are released onto the river.

Spectators can cheer on their adopted ducks as they race downstream, creating a visual spectacle in the village described as “Britain’s most beautiful”. And for 203, the organisers are also offering a ‘live stream’ via Instagram – which has already attracted interest from across the globe. 

Families are encouraged to participate by sponsoring the rubber ducks for a small fee, with proceeds going towards fundraising for the Bibury Cricket Club, alongside a selected local charity. Prizes will be awarded to the owners of the first ducks to cross the finish line, adding an extra layer of excitement to the event.

“The Bibury Duck Race has become one of the Cotswold’s most vibrant traditions and attracts hundreds of visitors every year. It’s in the tradition of the cheese rolling for countryside silliness, but the message behind it is serious. Without these fundraising days, institutions like our local cricket club would sadly fade away,” said Jack Merrylees, of the Bibury Cricket Club Committee.

2023 sees a big leap forward for the Duck Race, with a live stream planned for the event via the cricket club’s Instagram account – alongside the ability to buy tickets online. Current sponsors include families as far as Australia, America and New Zealand.

 “This event is not only a great way to bring people together but also an opportunity to support a worthy cause. We invite everyone to join us for a day of festivities, laughter, and, of course, to witness the thrilling duck race. And we’re hoping to bring a little slice of the Cotswolds to a global audience this year.”

For more information about the Annual Bibury Duck Race, including how to adopt a duck and a full schedule of events, please visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/bibury-duck-race

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