Thousands of rubber ducks are dropped into the ocean at the Huntington Beach Pier during the annual Duck-A-Thon in 2012. The 22nd edition of the event begins Friday and runs through Sunday. (KEVIN CHANG, HB Independent / May 14, 2014)

The blue ocean will get an infusion of yellow this weekend in Huntington Beach as AltaMed Medical & Dental Group hosts its annual Duck-a-Thon at the pier.

The fundraiser, now in its 22nd year, invites residents and companies to buy ducks, which "race" to the shore after a pair of skip loaders dump them off the pier. The first 60 ducks to float back to shore win prizes for their buyers.

This year's Duck-a-Thon begins Friday with a public reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at the pier honoring elected officials and military personnel — the latter keeping with this year's "Yankee Doodle Duck" theme, which salutes the armed forces. The main duck race takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday, followed by a special corporate race at 1 p.m. Sunday, with the winner taking home the Golden Duck Traveling Trophy.

The cost to enter the contest ranges from $10 for a standard Baby Duck to $500 for a Flock of Corporate Ducks. All proceeds benefit AltaMed's Huntington Beach clinic, which recently underwent an expansion to accommodate new insurance holders under the Affordable Care Act.

For more information, call (714) 500-0382 or visit http://www.duckathon.org.

—Michael Miller