It was a festive evening June 20 on the streets of downtown Oneida as the Wilber-Duck Mile brought out an enthusiastic crowd of runners, walkers and spectators for the ninth annual event. At the same tie, the run was raising money for educational needs of the city's youngsters.
With a minimal $10 registration fee, participants were treated to a shirt, free pizza and ice cream and the chance to join the fun competition for trophies and prizes with runners and walkers from all over the Central New York area. Host Frank Duck of Wilber-Duck Chevrolet and Buick said the three events of the race brought in more than 400 people and the funds raised would go to the Otto Shortell Middle School.
The evening's fun kicked off with a car push challenge between members of the city's fire and police departments, as they raced like-sized Buicks down Farrier Avenue starting at Main Street to their finish line on Broad Street. The fire department pulled off a narrow win in this first-time event, and Chief Donald Hudson offered some good-natured quips to the nearby police as his team accepted their trophy after their win.
I think next year if the police strap a bamboo pole with a doughnut on it in front of their car, they might be able to win it," he joked.
As the two groups offered congratulatory kudos and challenges for a return bout next year, Hudson added he felt a good-natured competition like the car push was not only a bonding activity between the departments but something good for the public to see, as well.
This was fun, and I think it's good for both of our departments, as well as the public, to do something like this to show the camaraderie we have between us, Hudson said.