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Polar Bear Plunge on Feb. 16

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Take the plunge.

The Polar Bear Plunge.

The Greater Ogdensburg of Commerce will stage the sixth annual Polar Bear Plunge on Feb. 16.

The River Shiver fundraiser for the chamber and the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad will be held at 1 p.m. at the city marina.

Squad Director of Operations Kenneth J. Gardner said his organization uses the funds to buy essential medical equipment.

“It’s an extremely important event for us,” he said Friday. “But it’s also a fun day.”

Last year’s plunge drew 25 participants, a number believed to be low because of mild temperatures and not enough ice.

Thus week’s sub-zero cold spell should take care of those concerns.

“Oh, I think so,” said Chamber Executive Director Sandra M. Porter.

Ten-year-old Paige S. Merz of Ogdensburg took the plunge last year and generated more than $800 in pledges.

“I wanted to raise money for the charities,” she said.

Paige has already taken out her pledge sheets for this year’s Polar Bear Plunge. And, no, she doesn’t claim to have any warm feelings for the icy, bracing waters of the St. Lawrence River in February.

“I like the hot tub,” she said Friday.

The cost to enter is $35 in pledges per person, and children under 18 years of age must have the written consent of a parent. The person bringing in the most pledges will win 10

percent of the entire purse. Last year, Jack Downing won $490.

There will also be prizes for the best costumes.

Pledge forms can be obtained at the chamber office at 1 Bridge Plaza or downloaded on the website ogdensburgny.com. Around the city, they can be picked up at Kimro’s Medicine Place, Phillips Diner, North Country Savings Bank, NBT Bank, Ed-Med Federal Credit Union, St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union and the Dobisky Center.

Once again the rescue squad will with be cutting a hole in the St. Lawrence River ice, providing divers and harnesses and arranging for a hot tub to be available on the patio of the visitor’s center for after the plunge.

The participants will also have the boaters lounge at the visitors center to change clothes and take hot showers.

Hot food and drinks will be available inside the visitors center for spectators and plungers alike.

A 50/50 giveaway will be held and door prizes will be given out. For more information on the event, call the chamber office at 393-3620.

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