ANCHORAGE - It takes a lot of people to make Fur Rondy happen and one of the most notable people responsible for it will be stepping down at the end of the 2012 Fur Rondy festival.
For eight years Executive Director Susan Duck has spent countless hours at Fur Rondy headquarters to make sure the festival runs smoothly.
“It just feels like the right time for me to go,” said Duck. “I've given the better part of my life for the past eight years, to Rondy, and it just feels right.”
When Duck took over the winter festival it was slowly dying, but according to Rondy staff member Susynn Snyder, that all changed in their executive director's hands.
“I remember eight, ten years ago when Fur Rondy was not what it is now and people were not coming downtown to participate,” said Snyder. “So she has brought people together to bring them downtown.”
Duck can be credited for bringing one of the most popular events to the winter carnival – Running with the Reindeer - but no matter what has changed in Fur Rondy, Duck won’t take all the credit. She said it is a team effort, from herself, to her co-workers, to the community.
“Even someone who buys a Rondy pin, we owe them thanks for keeping Rondy going,” said Duck. “People think I'm being humble when I deflect that question, but it's the truth.”
Her coworkers will miss her spirit and energy, but her family will be happy to have her home, as she claims they have suffered because of the dedication she puts into her community role.
While directors may come and go, Fur Rondy will continue with a foundation set up with Susan Duck's leadership. The Fur Rondy board is in charge of finding a replacement for Duck, but her friends and coworkers wonder if their new executive director will be able to fill her big shoes.
"That passion, that desire to make sure everybody gets the attention they need and detail,” said Fur Rondy President Gary Hufford, “the lady is something unbelievable when it comes to that.”