Locals Take The “Polar Plunge” Into Buckeye Lake

by Mackenzie Stasko on February 2, 2014 at 9:27 am

While many people spent Sunday afternoon catching up on sleep, or going grocery shopping to prepare for the Super Bowl, others spent Sunday waist deep in Buckeye Lake.

Around 500 people came out to the Buckeye Lake Winery’s first annual polar plunge, an event winery owner Tracy Higginbotham planned to benefit the Buckeye Lake Historical Society and management of its famous cranberry bog.

"We needed something fun. I mean it’s been a brutal, brutal winter and everyone’s tired of being stuck at home," said Higginbotham. "We want to give back to the community, the community’s been so accepting of us and we want to be a part of it."

With the lake completely frozen, Higgibotham used a chainsaw to cut through the 10 inches of ice to create a pool to jump into. Both young and old took the plunge into the frigid water wearing everything from dresses, tu-tus, high heels, to barely anything at all.

"I was the first jumper and I went all the way under and I’m still cold," said Higginbotham.

"Ohh my gosh it’s cold! And I was the last one so it was awesome," said Kendra Click.

Susie said, "It was pretty cold, the ice, just brr brr brr! But it’s warmer now that we’re out of the water as crazy as that is because I think it’s about 34 degrees."

While jumping into the lake was free of charge, the winery raised money by selling t-shirts and from donors pledging money to those willing to take the plunge.

"We raised over $5,000 for them to continue today to be able to manage the bog and preserve this lake and bring it back to the grandeur it used to be when it was Ohio’s playground, that’s what we want."

Higginbotham, who prides himself and his 7-month-old winery on being local and producing his own wines, plans on making the polar plunge an annual tradition.

"This is like a summer day for us in February so it was good for them, it was good for us, it was good for the lake."