September 21, 2014

Medina
Showers
58°F

Almost 140 take plunge into Chippewa Lake, raise $13,000 for charity

For more photos from Matthew Platz, check out this link to the Gazette’s Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1hXJDeE
Kyle Tarr and Judy Peterka, of Strongsville, were undoubtedly the best-dressed participants in Saturday’s fourth annual Polar Bear Run, Walk and Jump. Tarr and Peterka said they will take the traditional plunge into matrimony in September. Participants in this year’s event raised more than $13,000 for charity.  (MATTHEW PLATZ / PLATZ IMAGES)

Kyle Tarr and Judy Peterka, of Strongsville, were undoubtedly the best-dressed participants in Saturday’s fourth annual Polar Bear Run, Walk and Jump. Tarr and Peterka said they will take the traditional plunge into matrimony in September. Participants in this year’s event raised more than $13,000 for charity. (MATTHEW PLATZ / PLATZ IMAGES)

What do you get when you mix a soon-to-be-wed couple, Cruella de Vil, the Super Mario Brothers, a pair of Supergirls and an ice-cold lake?

The answer: more than $13,000 in donations to charity.

That’s thanks to 170 people — including almost 140 who took the plunge into a frigid Chippewa Lake Saturday — who participated in the fourth annual Polar Bear Run, Walk and Jump.

Several hundred spectators witness the fourth annual Polar Bear Run, Walk and Jump Saturday morning at Chippewa Lake. (MATTHEW PLATZ / PLATZ IMAGES)

Several hundred spectators witness the fourth annual Polar Bear Run, Walk and Jump Saturday morning at Chippewa Lake. (MATTHEW PLATZ / PLATZ IMAGES)

“It’s an adrenaline rush like you can’t believe,” said event chairman Alan Robbins of the Chippewa Lake Lions Club, who took the first jump into the chilly waters. “It wasn’t as bad this year since there wasn’t much wind.”

Donations went to benefit Feeding Medina County, CrossPointe Church’s Community Meal Program and the Chippewa Lake Lions Club.

The event was scheduled for Jan. 25 but was postponed due to cold temperatures and high winds.

Saturday’s weather was a high of 39 degrees, which Robbins said was just right — for spectators. It’s still an icy leap for participants.

“The secret is not to wear much clothing,” Robbins said, “because if you do, the cold clings to you. But I suppose dressing up is part of the fun.”

Most of the jumpers spent only seconds in the water before hurrying up a ladder and dashing for heated tents. Among them were first-timers Jessica Vargo and Kelsey Lattimore, both 20, who dressed in Supergirl costumes.

“I just wanted to brave it and try the cold,” Vargo said before jumping, standing about 10 yards from the water.

“I can already feel the cold.”

Lattimore shook her head as her friend spoke.

“It’s going to be so cold,” she said.

The women screamed as they dashed for the heated tents after their plunge.

“Oh my gosh, that was freezing,” Vargo shouted.

More experienced jumpers, like LeeAnn Pavlovicz, took their time getting to the tents.

Pavlovicz, of Seville, has jumped every year of the event so far, and she said she delights is dressing up in costume to take the dip. She dressed as Cruella de Vil this year. She was Mary Poppins last year.

“I love it. It’s an adrenaline rush, and it’s for a great cause,” she said. “I’ll probably start looking for a new costume tomorrow.”

Other costumed jumpers included an engaged couple, Kyle Tarr and Judy Peterka, of Strongville, who jumped in wedding attire, the Super Mario Brothers, Santa Claus, the cast of Duck Dynasty, a man in a bikini and an exchange student from Brazil who’d never seen snow before coming to Ohio.

The event chair said he was glad the event had such a turnout.

“It’s good to see so many people show up, and I love seeing their getups,” Robbins said. “I’m already looking forward to next year.”

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.