“Where else but in Hershey, Pennsylvania, would you find ten thousand rubber Hershey’s Kisses floating in a lazy river raising money to support a great organization like Children’s Miracle Network?”
– Dr. Craig Hillemeier, then chair of the Department of Pediatrics & Medical Director, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, September 9, 2010.
Hershey’s Kisses Regatta was a fundraiser event held at The Boardwalk at Hersheypark. This was Hershey’s version of a rubber duck regatta, replacing a fleet of rubber ducks with rubber Hershey’s Kisses. The event was held to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.
The inaugural event was announced on July 28, 2010. It was scheduled for Thursday, September 9, 2010, at 5pm. The event was organized with Children’s Miracle Network through several corporate partnerships. This included Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company and The Hershey Company as the top sponsors, with Kraft Foods and Pepsi as the co-sponsors of the event.
People could purchase tickets for the event through August 20, 2010. These tickets could be bought at a variety of locations ranging from the Children’s Miracle Network office to various Stauffers of Kissel Hill locations.
The purpose of buying a ticket was to “Adopt a Kiss.” 10,000 rubber Hershey’s Kisses were to be placed in the Intercoastal Waterway in The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, and then the first 20 rubber Kisses to cross the finish line were all awarded prizes. Each Kiss had a number printed on the bottom to correspond to the ticket sold to a person.
A single rubber Hershey’s Kiss cost $5. There was an option to buy a “Pucker Pack” for $20. This option included a bonus fifth Kiss and admittance to watch the Regatta in person (the event was not open to the public and rides were not in operation). Prizes for the Regatta included season passes to Hersheypark, gift cards, Pepsi soda for a year, as well as Turkey Hill ice cream and iced tea for a year.
Winners were determined by the first 20 rubber Hershey’s Kisses to cross the finish line in the Intercoastal Waterway. The event raised over $19,000 for Children’s Miracle Network.
The Second Annual Hershey’s Kisses Regatta was scheduled for a year later, again on a Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 5pm. Prices were the same for the tickets and prizes were similar, though a highlighted prize for this second event was winning a Hershey Bears suite for a night.
However, inclement weather caused the event to be scuttled. To determine winners of the event, rubber Hershey’s Kisses were chosen at random. The amount fundraised for this event was never announced.
After the rained-out regatta, the event hasn’t been held since. Here is a video of the 2010 edition of the Hershey’s Kisses Regatta.