08/09/14 4:00pm
08/09/2014 4:00 PM
Luke Murphy, 19 months, of Babylon clutched a rubber duck keychain and a chocolate chip cookie as he watched the second annual Rubber Duck Race in Flanders Saturday. (Rachel Young photos)

Luke Murphy, 19 months, of Babylon clutched a rubber duck keychain and a chocolate chip cookie as he watched the second annual Rubber Duck Race in Flanders Saturday. (Credit: Rachel Young)

In a sea — wait, make that bay — of 220 rubber ducks, only one emerged as victor at Flanders’ second annual Rubber Duck Race, held Saturday afternoon on the Big Duck property. (more…)

12/05/13 3:52pm
12/05/2013 3:52 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The landmark Big Duck monument in Flanders.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The landmark Big Duck monument in Flanders.

It’s that time of year, again: Time to deck the Duck!

The annual Big Duck Holiday Lighting Ceremony will take place tonight, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. at the landmark Big Duck on Road in Flanders.

Check back for photos from the event.

The flipping of the switch, illuminating the Big Duck in Christmas lights, will also be accompanied by a visit from Santa Claus, courtesy of the Flanders Fire Department, as well as sing-along led by the Riverhead Middle School Show Choir and a visit from Quackerjack, the Mascot from the Independent League champion Long Island Ducks.

That’s according to Richard Wolfe, the assistant director of historic services for the county parks department, which is sponsoring the event along with Southampton Town’s parks and recreation department.

The lighting event is usually held on a Wednesday night, but was moved to Thursday this year due to a conflict in the Middle School choir’s schedule, Mr. Wolfe said.

“We really wanted them to be there, so we had to switch it,” he said.

Attendees will also get to see the Duck from the inside, as the Big Duck Store will be open during the ceremony.

Parking will be available on the  Flanders Mens Club property, which is adjacent to the Big Duck.


08/24/13 5:00pm
08/24/2013 5:00 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | 18-month-old Julianna Elefonte cheers on as the ducks near the finish line.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | 18-month-old Julianna Elefonte cheers on as the ducks near the finish line.

More than 100 people attended Flanders’ first ever Rubber Duck Race Saturday afternoon to help benefit the iconic Big Duck property.

Organized by Friends of the Big Duck, 427 bright rubber ducks were sold for $5 each with all proceeds going toward restoring a barn on the Flanders property. It will be made into a duck farming museum dedicated to the area’s early farmers.

The crowd cheered as the ducks were dropped into Flanders Bay. The ducks drifted more than 100 feet to the finish line from the bay’s gentle current.

Members of the Riverhead High School crew team helped catch the winning ducks, transporting them to a nearby dock so the winners could be called out.

While the first five winning ducks’ owners were not in attendance – there was also a prize for the last little duck, going to Colleen Franco of Manorville. The winner received $200. The last-place winner earned a Riverhead Auto Wash gift certificate.

Children enjoyed ice cream as they watched the ducks float by. In all, the race took about 10 minutes.


05/30/13 12:00pm
05/30/2013 12:00 PM
Flanders Flag in Hamlet

Shannon Merker, 17, is a life-long Flanders resident and McGann- Mercy High School junior.

A Flanders teenager who designed a flag for her hometown hamlet will see her creation flying high above Flanders Memorial Park later this month.

Shannon Merker, 17, a life-long Flanders resident and a McGann-Mercy High School junior has volunteered at the memorial park for eight years, and first proposed designing a flag for the Southampton Town hamlet six years ago.

Her design, a 3-by-5-foot blue and white flag featuring the landmark Big Duck and the reeds of the Peconic waterways, was adopted as the official flag of the hamlet by the Southampton Town Board on May 14.

The flag will be raised at the Flanders Road park for the first time June 11 at 10 a.m. in a ceremony to honor Shannon and the historic hamlet.

10/26/12 8:00am
10/26/2012 8:00 AM
Southampton Town, Flanders, Big Duck

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Southampton Town officials had some fun cutting the ribbon at a new bathroom at the Big Duck Park Thursday.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for a bathroom?

Yes, but not just any bathroom.

On Thursday, Flanders residents and Southampton Town officials gathered for a such a ceremony at the Big Duck’s bathroom.

And no, the ribbon wasn’t across the bowl, and it wasn’t made of toilet paper. It was across the door to the building.

“It’s not so often you see a ribbon cutting for a bathroom, but we felt it was that important to reach out to the community and thank those who are responsible for us having gotten to the point we can can go in and have that ceremonial first flush,” Southampton Councilman Chris Nuzzi said.

“This is a good thing for the Big Duck,” said Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne Holst, who added that she was looking forward to the “inaugural flush” as well.

Operation of the bathroom will be turned over to the Friends of the Big Duck, a nonprofit group founded to preserve the history of the Big Duck, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, said Chris Bean, the town’s recreation department supervisor.

The Friends will set the hours of operation for the bathroom and will contract to have it cleaned, Mr. Bean said.

It’s expected to be open when the Big Duck is open, said Christine Fetten, the town’s director of municipal works. She said the town contracted for the exterior work on the bathroom but did the interior work in-house.

The Friends seek to preserve the Duck for the community and for tourists,” said Neil Young, the group’s vice president.

“We want to promote the Big Duck and promote Long Island’s duck farming heritage,” he said. “And it’s also a nice spot to just come and have lunch if you’re in the area.”

The bathroom building, located just west of the Duck itself, is one of three buildings on the Big Duck site that Southampton Town planned to renovate as part of a plan to create “Big Duck Park.” Two of the three have now been renovated.

At one time, there were about 20 different buildings on the former duck farm, but most of them were beyond repair, said Northampton resident Chris Sheldon.

The town still has yet to renovate a former duck brooding barn on the property, which officials envision as a museum on the history of duck farming in the area.

The idea for a Big Duck historic park on the site dates back to 2003, when then-supervisor Skip Heaney put $100,000 in the town capital budget for the project, at a time when the Duck was still at its previous location.

The Big Duck moved back to its current location in Oct. 2007, after having spent the previous 19 years at Sears-Bellows park, also on Flanders Road, but in what some people considered Hampton Bays.

The Big Duck was originally build in Riverhead in 1931 as a store for duck farmer Martin Mauer, and moved to its current site in 1936, where it stayed until 1987.


05/22/11 5:19am
05/22/2011 5:19 AM

The Big Duck Craft Fair and Flea Market was held at Big Duck Ranch in Flanders Saturday. The event, hosted by Friends of the Big Duck, had a little bit of everything from hand made fiber art to jewelry to paintings to pickles. The proceeds benefited the Big Duck’s restoration.

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BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Tifany Perez, 4, and sister Michelle, 2, feast on some ice pops at the Big Duck Craft Fair.