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Big Chill 2013 - Polar Bear Plunge features new non-plunging group

Polar Bear Plungers bravely take the icy-cold leap into the Seneca River at Mercer Park during last year’s Big Chill event in Baldwinsville. Last year’s Polar Bear Plunge raised $27,000. This year’s event begins at 7 p.m. Friday and continues all day Saturday.

Polar Bear Plungers bravely take the icy-cold leap into the Seneca River at Mercer Park during last year’s Big Chill event in Baldwinsville. Last year’s Polar Bear Plunge raised $27,000. This year’s event begins at 7 p.m. Friday and continues all day Saturday.

— Cristina Jardine believes this year’s Polar Bear Plunge will blow last year’s record out of the water.

“This year we are expecting close to 200 plungers,” said Jardine, chair of 2013 B'ville Big Chill Planning Committee.

Last year’s event drew a record 150 plungers for the chilly dip into the Seneca River raising roughly $27,000 – another record.

The two-day Big Chill event, which will be held this Friday and Saturday, features a new non-plunger category for the Polar Bear Plunge for those who want to fundraise for the event but choose to stay warm on the shore rather than taking the leap. There is also a new, exclusive VIP tent for both plungers and non-plungers, which will have pizza and drinks for fundraising guests as well as a photo booth, donated by Edges Photography, for teams to have fun with.

“[This is] our way of thanking all the people who fundraise for this incredible event,” Jardine said.

By far the main event of the two-day affair, the plunge begins at noon and takes place in waves, so there is a new plunging group to watch approximately every 20 minutes.

“The plunge is really something to witness,” Jardine said. “Teams of people run into the river down a long red carpet in costumes to crazy songs. It's a lot of fun to watch.”

The break between also gives spectators the opportunity to warm up in the event’s heated tent and to check out the Best in Bowl food competition.

“We will have a greater variety of restaurants in our Best in Bowl food contest including a new dessert category,” Jardine said, adding Tim Horton’s will also be on site offering coffee and free hot chocolate and a chili cook-off will take place between 2 and 3 p.m. in the tent.

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