Duckling Day Goes Virtual this Mother’s Day

While the highly anticipated Duckling Day won’t take place in the Public Garden on Mother’s Day in the traditional sense this year, the Friends of the Public Garden is hosting a “virtual” Duckling Day on Facebook Sunday, May 10, beginning at noon instead.

“This is such a sweet and wonderful event that happens in real time,” said Liz Vizza, executive director of the nonprofit Friends group. “We can’t do that this year, but we’re providing as much as we can, given that we’re living in very unusual times.”

Young revelers at a past Duckling Day.

The program, which is expected to run around 20 minutes, will include a welcome from Vizza, a greeting from Mayor Martin Walsh and a reading of Robert McCloskey’s 1941 classic children’s book “Make Way For Ducklings” by WCVB-5s Rhondella Richardson, who has served as the event’s emcee for the last several years, and will be joined by her daughter, Rhylee.

While the Mayor of Boston has been on hand for the event since its inception more than 30 years ago, Vizza said Mayor Walsh’s participation this year is a particularly touching gesture.

“The tradition is every year for the mayor to come to welcome moms and kids, and say ‘Happy Duckling Day,’” Vizza said. “We’re honored that Mayor Walsh is participating in the event again this year because obviously he’s really busy now, so to take the time out to bring a little joy to our families is particularly meaningful.”

Virtual Duckling Day will also feature a video of children in costume at the event from years past, along with new images of kids dressed up specifically for this occasion. Anyone interested in submitting old or new photos can email them to [email protected] with the subject “Duckling Day,” and the Friends will share some of them on Facebook and Instagram.

And those who can’t view the program live on Facebook shouldn’t fret, Vizza said, since it will be made available afterwards on YouTube.

“More people will likely tune in than would show up at the park, and there will be more opportunities to join in besides when it’s on live,” she added.

So unlike 2017 when the event was cancelled altogether due to inclement weather, Virtual Duckling Day will go on this year – albeit with a new format.

“Rain or shine, we’ll be on people’s screens and in  their homes,” Vizza said, adding that she is pleased that the Friends have found a way to host the event this year in such a unique way.” I think it’s a great, wonderful way of being resilient and pivoting.”

For more information on Virtual Duckling Day, visit

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