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Family honors loved one at the Iowa State Fair — one mini duck at a time

A family is placing hundreds of mini ducks around the fairgrounds in honor of a beloved 14-year-old girl who passed away just one year ago.

DES MOINES, Iowa — With thousands of people coming to the Iowa State Fair each day, one family is doing something special to keep the memory of a loved one alive. 

Jayden McFarling passed away on Aug. 10, 2022 at just 14 years-old. 

The family is placing hundreds of ducks around the Iowa State Fair to share her happiness with everybody. 

"She loved coming to the fair. She had dreamed about going to Iowa State University. There was just so much that she wanted to do with her life that was taken from her so shortly that we just want to do something to just really remember her, and to carry on all of the happiness that she would bring," said Christina Hopkins, Jayden's aunt. 

Before Jayden passed, she would hide little ducks around the house so her family could find them and remember her. 

Now the family is continuing that mission to make sure Jayden is never forgotten. 

"To know that she is still with us, even though she is gone. All of her joy and happiness that she would bring when she was here, that she can still bring and she can bring to strangers all around us that she might not have ever known, to just help brighten everybody's day," Hopkins said. 

With it being the one year anniversary of her passing, the family knew they wanted to spread her joy. 

The fair brings thousands of people each year, so they thought this was the perfect way to honor Jayden.

"I just know that if she was here, this is something that she would be doing. She loves to leave little surprises for everybody and to make people happy. So being able to do that and remember her, we plan to do it every year," Hopkins said. 

The family plans to place 600 more ducks before the end of the fair, and they want everybody to take a duck home if they find one. 

Local 5 and CW Iowa 23 are bringing exciting 2023 Iowa State Fair experiences to you, from live newscasts to an interactive Local 5 Weather Lab experience. Come see us in front of the Administration Building (Grand Concourse) each day between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

Local 5 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Download the apps today to stream live newscasts and watch video on demand. 

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