Put on your wild bikinis or shorts, goofy hats, funky earmuffs and crazy costumes and head to Pie Eyed Petey’s Saturday for the sixth annual Polar Bear Plunge.
The event benefits the food pantries in North Webster and Syracuse.
“Every year it’s a little bit different and every year it’s a little more surprising, but it’s for a good cause. It’s good, clean, wet fun,” said Barb Hamer, co-owner of Pie Eyed Petey’s, 70 EMS T17 Lane, Leesburg.
Doors open at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the plunges starting at 1 p.m.
Co-owner Roy Hamer said they raised over $3,500 last year for the food pantries, and 157 people took the plunge. A bunch of canned food and non-perishable food items also was collected, General Manager Michele Farkas said.
Farkas said the staff of Petey’s was looking forward to filling the food banks’ shelves.
“They have come to depend on that,” Barb said. “It’s like anything – once you start filling a need, it becomes anticipated and helps them with their budget.”
The past year has been better for everyone generally, she said, and she hopes that continues. She also said she hopes everyone digs a little deeper this year to give to the food pantries.
“Clean out your cupboards,” Barb suggested. “Start your spring cleaning early and clean out your cupboards. Instead of one donation, bring a sack of stuff.”
Check to make sure any donation has not expired as food pantries can not accept outdated items, she added.
There is no cost to take part in the plunge, but participants are asked to donate either financially or by giving non-perishable food items. Jumpers also must be over 18.
“The same rules apply as last year. You must be 21 to get past the fence,” Barb said. “Wear your old tennis shoes or swim socks. Costumes are very much appreciated and welcomed. Bring your own towels and a change of clothes.”
The marina will provide a place for people to change after the plunge, Roy said.
“Any items lost or left behind can be claimed at the marina the following Monday, or call here,” Barb said.
The first 150 people to sign up will receive a T-shirt. Hooded sweatshirts are $35 each with part of the proceeds going to the food pantries.
The Tiki Bar will be open again this year, Farkas said. There will be a beer hut outside with a full bar inside.
A limited menu will be served Saturday. Executive Chef Tim Holston said there will be chilli, grilled cheese sandwiches, quarter slices of pizza and biscuits and gravy. For dinner, there will be macaroni & cheese with bacon.
“We get $1,200 because we sell the tables and that money goes to food banks,” Farkas said, indicating that the tables already were sold out for Saturday’s event.
The Kosciusko Dive Team and North Webster EMS again will be on hand, which Barb said she was extremely thankful for. “They do a great job every year and they take a load off of our shoulders,” she said.
There will be parking attendants to help with parking. Overflow parking will be at the storage units on CR 450. Golf carts will help shuttle people from parking to Pie Eyed Petey’s.
Barb said, “It’s supposed to be a beautiful day – sunny with above temperatures. We’ll have heaters outside. The biggest warmth will be from the size of everyone’s heart.”
“We do this every year just for fun, but also for a very good cause,” Farkas said.
(Story By The Times Union)