Austin takes the plunge; With 230 jumpers, event raises more than $52,000
Published 10:56 am Monday, February 2, 2015
About 230 people jumped into East Side Lake Saturday for the third annual Plunging for Pink, which raised more than $52,000.
“It was a great turnout and I think the snowmobile event, it sounded like that went really well, and then the plunge it was a record number of people jumping,” Communications Representative for The Hormel Institute Tim Ruzek said Monday morning.
The plunge took place at the East Side Lake Park boat launch and again raised money for Paint the Town Pink and the Institute’s breast cancer research. Last year’s plunge attracted more than 200 participants.
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Vision 2020’s Director of Vision Creation Laura Helle was excited about the event, even as she waited to jump into the ice-cold water.
“I love it,” Helle said. “It’s great to see the crowd out here and I can’t wait to get in the water.”
After plunging, participants entered heated, enclosed trailers to warm up and change out of their wet clothes. Hy-Vee Food Stores sponsored a tent for food and beverage, including Caribou Coffee, at East Side Lake with proceeds donated to the Institute.
“This is encouragement and inspiration,” Gail Dennison, director of public relations at the Institute, said. “This is for everybody, and I think we’re having a wonderful time coming together.”
Vision 2020 Waterways, Austin Parks & Recreation, Austin Street Department and the Austin Fire Department — firefighter volunteers assisted in the water — all helped put on the event.
Ruzek said the weather was ideal for this time of year, at about 32 degrees with no strong winds and snow that didn’t start until after the event finished.
Since 2011, the Austin area’s Paint the Town Pink efforts have raised more than $362,000 for breast cancer research at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota in Austin. It all started with the only event in 2011 being the first Austin Bruins Paint the Rink Pink hockey game that raised more than $22,000. This year, PTTP organizers hoped to top the $500,000 mark in overall fundraising for five years and raise even more donations beyond that.
Austin’s Paint the Town Pink will officially run until to Feb. 8, featuring pink flags, ribbons and events throughout the city. The marquee event is the Austin Bruins’ fifth annual “Paint the Rink Pink” hockey game Feb. 7 at Riverside Arena.