Polar Bear Plunge in Riverfront Park celebrates 15 years
Organizers of the 15th-annual Dianna Ashbaugh Memorial Polar Bear Plunge hope area residents and visitors join them in splashing out for a good cause on the first morning of the new year.
Co-founders Todd Ashbaugh and Ed Bower raise money each year from the event to benefit the American Cancer Society. The annual event, which started in 2000, was named four years ago in honor of Ashbaugh's mother, who passed away from cancer.
And like previous years, the plunge is set to take place at the Riverfront Park boat launch at 8 a.m. New Year's Day.
“We always like to have a big crowd,” Bower said.
Last year, $2,000 was raised — despite few participants (about 44), Ashbaugh said. The record year for turnout was 2012, with 105 participants.
“I'm hoping with this being the 15th anniversary, it will bring out more people,” he said.
Ashbaugh noted that participants aren't required to donate.
However, he is encouraging those willing to take the chilly dip to ask their neighbors, friends and family members for a pledge.
There is not a set amount for pledges and there's no need to sign up ahead of time, Ashbaugh said.
“We always have a bucket there (at the event) for donations,” Bower said.
Bower wants people to know that they don't have to completely submerge themselves in the Allegheny River.
“You can just get in and get out,” he said, adding that last year, the oldest participants were 65 and the youngest was 9.
He noted that those younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
The boat launch area has a zero entry level.
That makes it an ideal place to have the event, Ashbaugh said.
But, he added, that means it's the first place to ice over during wintery conditions.
“We always worry about ice,” Bower said, adding that he hopes milder weather will keep frozen conditions at bay.
He and Ashbaugh said they are grateful to members of Kittanning Hose Co. 6 river rescue team for volunteering every year to oversee safety issues.
Ashbaugh advises all novice polar bears to wear old tennis shoes or shoes that strap.
Having a support person there to hold a towel and keep clothing off the ground is a good idea, he said.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fire ravages Dayton area meat-packing plant
- Armstrong ‘bitten’ by antique tractor bug
- Dogs brighten day at Ford City assisted-living facility
- United Way turns to small businesses to boost donations
- YMCA program expands to help adults with special needs
- Drug use, medical problems cited as cause of West Kittanning crash
- School bus, car crash in Armstrong
- Kittanning Township mulls property tax increase
- New Kensington man charged in Leechburg drug sale
- Kittanning’s holiday gifts come early for Ford City group
- Peanut Butter Festival to whip up family fun in New Bethlehem