SOMERSET— February 13th will mark the sixth year for local fundraisers to to take a chilly swim for a good cause. . The Quemahoning Chillin’ for Charity Winter Festival & Arctic Splash (formerly the Polar Plunge) began in 2011 when a group of community activists wanted to find a fun way to impact the community in which they live and work.
“With this it is not just about challenging someone to take that icy leap; it’s also about raising awareness and financial support for nonprofit organizations doing great things in our community,” said Paula Eppley-Newman, organizer. “Plus, the collaboration of so many organizations coming together to raise funds through one single event makes this a truly unique event. Add to that the live music, good food, warm drinks, costume contest, warm hot tub, and cold lake and you have the best, most unique event ever.”
The event began with about 40 people running into the freezing water and now, a few years later, there are more than 1,200 who participate. Eppley-Newman has been a part of the Quemahoning Chillin’ for Charity since it started.
“I am always trying to encourage our friends to enjoy this icy dip, but this will be the second year we have used a format where the funds go to local charities. Each charity involved gets the money they raise so they each get out of it what they put into it.”
This icy dip raises money for 14 charities—some of which are volunteer firefighters, a backpack program that provides nutritious meals to children in need over the weekends, an animal rescue, and a free medical clinic. All of the funds raised are kept locally and will directly impact the Cambria and Somerset communities.
“My favorite part is seeing the organizations work together toward a common goal. And, all the money stays local. “That appeals to me in a big way,” said Eppley-Newman. “It’s fun and festive and is a great way to see what various charities are doing in the community and how everyone in the community can help. Besides, the costume contest alone is worth attending to see.”
The festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. with live music and food throughout the day. Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. and the Arctic Splash will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eppley-Newman said people can pre-register for the event and donate as little or as much as they want; it’s all for a good cause.
“By braving the freezing cold to support one or all of these great organizations, you will be warming the heart of someone in need, and that is pretty incredible,” she said.
To find out more on this frozen event click here.