Turtle Derby returns this weekend in Perryville

Published 8:46 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Perryville’s fourth annual Snappin’ Chaplin Turtle Derby will be floating down the river on Saturday.

The turtle derby is Main Street Perryville’s largest fundraiser of the year, according to Executive Director Vicki Goode. Proceeds from the purchase of turtles go toward the historic preservation of downtown Perryville.

But don’t fret — no live animals are used in the event. They are bright green plastic turtles wearing sunglasses that people have “purchased” for either $5 each or six for $25. Each turtle is numbered and on the evening of the race, everyone who bought turtles are assigned corresponding numbers of their turtles. “It’s totally random,” Goode said.

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The Snappin Chaplin Turtle Derby starts about 6:30 p.m., when hundreds of the purchased turtles are tossed from a bridge over the Chaplin River in downtown Perryville. They float down the river — with some coaxing of a few kayakers and paddles making waves (no turtles can be touched, though) — into a collection area. The first turtle to drift through the chute wins the $1,000 cash prize for the lucky person who was assigned that turtle’s number. Second place wins $400, third place gets $300, fourth place wins $200 and fifth place wins $100.

Prizes will also be awarded to the sixth- through 10th-place winners.

“The river is in good shape” for the derby, Goode said. “That’s always a blessing.”

But she can’t say yet which way the turtles will float on Saturday — “You never know until that day.” If the river is flowing one way, the turtles will be tossed from the traffic bridge; if its streaming the other way, turtles will enter the water from the foot bridge.

Turtles will be available to purchase through 5 p.m. Saturday.  Participants may purchase one or a “nest” of them by calling the MSP office at (859) 236-1862, or by visiting duckrace.com/perryville.

In celebration of the derby, there will be lots of activities, food and music throughout the day, continuing on Sunday, Goode said.

Perryville’s derby day will kick off at 7 a.m. Saturday with the Johnny Cocanougher 5K Memorial Run/Walk. The late Cocanougher was a long-time staff member with Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation who died in May.

For those who didn’t pre-register, registration begins at 6:30 a.m. and the race begins and ends at the Perryville Community Center. It’s sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 69 and MSP, and the proceeds will be donated to the Shop with a Cop program, helping families during Christmas.

From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, there will be food trucks, marketplace vendors, a kids corner with inflatables and music.

Saturday at 3:30 p.m., Kamearah Chambers will sing a variety of songs. At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, a new band called “Not Yet,” featuring Perryville Mayor Brian Caldwell on vocals, will give their premiere performance.

A special attraction at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday downtown will be the Kentucky Dock Dogs competition. There will be several world champion dogs competing in Big Air Wave, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve.

In the past three years, the Snappin’ Chaplin Turtle Derby has raised nearly $30,000 for MSP and its historic preservation of downtown Perryville, Goode said.