TOLEDO, Ohio — People who drive Jeeps get more than just the vehicle; they get to join a global group of fanatics celebrating their love for the brand through inside traditions like the "Jeep wave," the Toledo Jeep Fest and, uniquely, rubber ducks.
Allison Parliament was visiting family in Ontario, Canada and found a new use for the squeaky bathtub toys in 2020.
After being assaulted on her trip, she saw rubber ducks in a convenience store and decided to place one on a fellow Jeep owner's vehicle in a lighthearted attempt to lift her spirits.
The recipient of the duck thought the idea was hilarious, she said. She posted it on Facebook, and #duckduckjeep caught fire within the Jeep community.
Parliament, a graduate of Swanton High School, thought the trend would die off in the small Canadian town of Bancroft.
"I never thought it would blow up the way it did," she said.
Jeep enthusiasts around the globe were placing rubber ducks on the hoods, and wedging them in the door handles, of other Jeeps they saw in their local areas to spread the love within the tight-knit community.
The Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator are manufactured in Toledo, and with the annual Jeep Fest rolling into town since 2016, the Glass City is no stranger to Jeep ducking.
Lauren Brewer is an administrator for the Duck Duck Jeep: Perrysburg, Ohio Facebook group, where locals share their latest duckings.
The devotee has owned three different Jeeps and said seeing the community rally around ducking is a special experience.
"It's just a great way to brighten other people's day," she said.
Some ducks are more than just part of the tradition though. As a supporter of "Back the Blue," Brewer's fiancé, James, surprised her with a duck dressed as a police officer.
"As soon as I saw it, I knew exactly who it was from," she said. Now, it's her favorite duck in her collection of 31 sitting on her dashboard.
And her mom gave her and her fiancé matching military ducks because he served in the U.S. Army for 11 years.
Every duck has a story behind it and the act of placing it onto someone else's vehicle can lead to awkward and funny situations.
Brewer, who keeps about 40 ducks in her Jeep to be prepared at any moment, said she was at a restaurant with her twin daughters and a friend when she noticed a Jeep in the parking lot.
The friend ran over to duck the Jeep, but realized there was someone sitting in it and abandoned the mission. But no Jeep goes unducked, so Brewer went back to finish the job.
She acknowledged the Jeep community's widespread acceptance of ducks. Most people in the community tend to enjoy being ducked -- as opposed to finding it annoying or invasive -- as it's a goofy, simple activity that can turn someone's day around.
Toledo Jeep Fest organizer and Vice President of Thread Marking Group Whitney Rofkar said the city has famous Jeeps, like the "Grape Ape" and "The Grinch," that give out their own trademark ducks to lucky recipients.
The Toledo Jeep Fest begins at noon on Friday and ends on Sunday.