A hole will be cut in the ice Saturday near the Dobisky Visitors Center, and dozens of people will be invited to jump in the frigid St. Lawrence River – all for a good cause.
The Polar Bear Plunge is an annual fundraiser for the Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce and the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad. It begins at 1 p.m. Saturday with registration starting at 11:30 a.m.
Laura J. Pearson, Chamber executive director, said last years plunge saw just over 30 people jump into the river, raising more than $7,000 that was split between the chamber and the rescue squad.
This year, Mrs. Pearson said, jumpers will be treated to a hot tub provided by Summer Haven Pool, Hearth and Spa, Potsdam, after they come out of the water, and there are showers available inside the Dobisky Center.
Jumpers will be attached to harnesses provided by the rescue squad to ensure the event is safe.
Kenneth J. Gardner, director of operations for the rescue squad, said they plan to begin cutting the ice between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
With the cold weather, Mr. Gardner said, he expects the ice will be pretty thick.
Well find out when we start cutting, he said.
This is one of the top three fundraisers for the rescue squad for the year, Mr. Gardner said.
Its an important day for us, he said.
Mrs. Pearson said jumpers will be treated to free food – hot dogs, nachos and a beverage – after their plunge, and a concession stand will be open for spectators.
In addition, Mrs. Pearson said, Tim Hortons donated coffee and doughnuts for the day, and Wal-Mart has provided the Chamber with hot chocolate and photography equipment that will allow them to take photos of jumpers.
The photos will be on sale for $5.
North Country Savings Bank is also giving away mugs to all jumpers.
Entrance to the event comes with a minimum donation of $35 and the jumper with the most pledges will win a $500 prize.
There will also be prizes for the most creatively dressed male and female jumper as well as the funniest dressed male and female jumper, Mrs. Pearson said. Winners of the costume contest will receive 25 Chamber dollars that can be used at participating local stores.