The fifth annual Penguin Plunge will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, on Birch Lake as part of the Back to Hack celebration in Hackensack.
The celebration, sponsored by the Hackensack Chamber of Commerce, began more than 25 years ago to help celebrate winter activities around Birch Lake. The Penguin Plunge is sponsored by the Pines Area Medical Development Association (PAMDA), which supports the local medical clinic, owned and operated by Essentia Health and located within the Birch View Gardens Assisted Living facility. The clinic serves Hackensack and the surrounding area.
Last year the plunge raised more than $17,000. This year’s goal is to surpass that amount.
Teams and individuals are encouraged to pre-register and gain financial support for completing the jump into the frigid waters of Birch Lake. Teams and individuals will compete for a trophy. Teams are often sponsored by businesses. First National Bank, Swanson’s, Hackensack Hardware and Lumber have a history of competition in the annual event.
Last year’s oldest jumper was Mary Parish, and this year her family hopes to make it a four-generation plunge that will include Parish, her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter.
Plungers younger than 16 require parental permission/presence. The Cass County Diving Team will be in the water to assist any jumpers. Separate warming tents will be available for both men and women to change clothes.
Registration forms are available at Mark’s Market in Hackensack or by contacting Dawn Peterson at 218-675-6111. Registration can also take place at the event site at the park on Birch Lake, beginning at noon the day of the plunge. The minimum donation is $30 per participant. Early registration is encouraged to allow for the plungers to secure sponsors.