Event concludes with annual Viky Downey Polar Bear Plunge

by Dennis Rahm

The community of Manson looks forward to hosting a number of activities the next few days as the second weekend of Lake Chelan Winterfest unfolds. The fun all starts on Friday with Wine Barrel Train rides in the downtown area from 1-3 pm. Live music will also be taking place on Friday night.

Saturday activities will again feature the train rides in addition to a Nitten Walk, live ice sculpture carving, a fireworks display and the always popular ice sculpture fire tower. The fireworks will start at 6:30 at Manson Bay Park and the fire tower display will start at 6:45 pm in downtown Manson and then live music from Radio 80 starts at 7 o’clock.

Coming up on Sunday is a Saturday morning Bloody Mary contest and then the 4th Annual Viki Downey Polar Bear Plunge and fundraiser for Lake Chelan Swim. Last year the event generated $32,000 thanks to donations and pledges to support those who agreed to jump into the cold waters of Lake Chelan. Leading the charge for donations last year was Jeff Conwell from the Second Cup of Coffee program on  KOZI Radio. Conwell is once again participating in this years event and has been busy raising support and donations.

Money generated from the Plunge is used to help fund the free swim lesson program that is run by Viki Downey and the Lake Chelan Swim organization. As of Wednesday of this week, Downey said the event has already generated over $11,000 in pledges with more coming in daily.

Even if you’re not one of those jumping into the lake on Sunday, it’s a fun event to witness in person. What makes it successful is the many area residents who are willing to take the plunge for support donations. The participants include sheriff’s deputies and firemen, school officials, and local business people.

Sunday’s Polar Bear Plunge begins at 1 pm. A group photo of swimmers will take place at 12:30 and each participant will be given an “I survived the Polar Bear Swim” wristband. For more information on weekend activities in Manson you can visit their Chamber of Commerce website at www.moretomanson.com.