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Pluck & Plunge in Cape Vincent to benefit dinner for the needy and fire department


CAPE VINCENT — People with lots of pluck will plunge into the St. Lawrence River here Nov. 30 to benefit a community Christmas party for the needy and the Cape Vincent Volunteer Fire Department.

Helping to cheer the “plungers” on will be an actor who has appeared on television’s “Boardwalk Empire” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.”

The Pluck & Plunge festival was created this year after the success of the free holiday dinner for the needy that Breakers Restaurant hosted last year.

Carolanne Porto, who opened Breakers with her husband, Charles, in July 2012, said the dinner they gave last year attracted 75 people.

“We bought every child a gift and one for every mother and father and they left with a family gift, which was a box of clementine oranges,” Mrs. Porto said.

This year’s dinner is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 23. Mrs. Porto expects about 100 people, “maybe even more.”

“People have been calling about it,” she said.

Mrs. Porto said she needed to find a way to fund this year’s event other than having it backed by just her and her husband.

“For me, it’s over-budgeted,” she said. “So we’re having this festival to help raise money.”

The funds raised will be split between funding of the Dec. 23 dinner and supporting the Cape Vincent Volunteer Fire Department.

Despite the “plunge” in the festival’s name, participants won’t necessarily be leaping or jumping into the St. Lawrence River.

“We’re going to walk in, like a real polar bear dip” Mrs. Porto said. “You can go out as far as you want. You could just get your toes wet. But if you’ve got any sponsors, you somehow have to get wet.”

Organizers request that participants in the Pluck & Plunge pick up sponsor sheets at the restaurant. The person who raises the most money can choose either a pair of diamond earrings or a new television as a prize. Second prize, which is whatever the first prize winner doesn’t select, will go to the business that gets the most participants to take the plunge.

There also will be a prize for the best-dressed “plunger.”

Mrs. Porto said the Pluck & Plunge begins at noon at the restaurant, 194 E. Broadway. At 1 p.m., onlookers will walk down to Market Street and take a left to the river. She said the services of a trolley have been donated by village resident John B. DeFrancesco for those who don’t want to walk. There will be a limousine to transport the “plungers.”

After the dips in the river, there will be festivities at the restaurant ranging from karaoke to a horseshoe tournament.

Joining the day’s events will be actor Frank Shattuck, a native of Syracuse, who played the Irish gang boss character Charlie Sheridan on season one of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Mr. Shattuck’s character was killed in the series.

Mr. Shattuck also appeared on a 2005 episode of NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and in the 2010 TV movie “Frederick Douglass: Pathway from Slavery to Freedom.”

“He’s going to do photo-ops and sign autographs,” Mrs. Porto said. “He’s volunteering because this is all nonprofit and to help the poor.”

She said she hopes to make the Pluck & Plunge a yearly event.

theft investigated

Mrs. Porto shared some bad news on the event: On Nov. 11, when she arrived at the restaurant, she said she discovered a burglar had forced opened the cash register and stolen their money, including all the money that had been raised for the festival thus far, which was in a separate envelope near the cash register.

Mrs. Porto said police told her that the thief also hit another Cape Vincent restaurant the same evening. About $300 of the festival money was stolen, she said.

“I was really upset he stole the drawer money, but worse, he stole the money that was destined for the poor,” Mrs. Porto said. “I went crazy. I was crying. How can somebody get so low?”

But she added, “I can’t get down. I just can’t.”

WHAT: Pluck & Plunge festival, a benefit for a community dinner for the needy and the Cape Vincent Volunteer Fire Department
WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, Nov. 30. Participants should bring sponsor forms at noon to Breakers Restaurant, 194 E. Broadway, Cape Vincent. The “plunge” begins at 1 p.m.
OF NOTE: Participants must have sponsors. The sponsor forms may be picked up at the restaurant or they can be obtained by calling Breakers at 501-5050 or by emailing the eatery at
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