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Selwyn PolarFest returns Feb. 3 to 5 with in-person polar plunge

Selwyn Township’s winter family festival, PolarFest, returns February 3-5 with plenty of activities for the young and young at heart, including the BEL Rotary Club’s popular Polar Jump, its first live live event since the pandemic began.

Taking place at various locations in the community, the PolarFest events kick off with a bang on February 3 at 6:30pm on the lakefront at Chemong Lodge in Bridgenorth with an opening ceremony featuring fireworks.

There will also be a snowman building challenge, candlelight skating, ice carving, public skating, youth shinny, lake curling and a night walk at the Marshland Centre.

Polar jump participants are invited to “freeze for good reason” at the 43rd annual event on February 5 at 2:00 p.m. at Rotary Park in Ennismore on Chemong Lake near the James A. Gifford Causeway.

This year’s theme is “Be a Rock Star for the Charity of Your Choice” with the goal of raising $30,000 for the charitable work of the Rotary Club of Bridgenorth-Ennismore-Lakefield and local charities.

Jump participants are asked to receive donations from family and friends for a charity of their choice. Proceeds are then split 50/50 between the Rotary Club and the charity.

The club was able to hold the event in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, said Mike Richardson, BEL Rotary’s community service chair.

Then, for the past two years, the polar jump has been a virtual event, with participants diving in at home and sharing videos, which has had moderate success, Richardson said.

It feels great to be personal again, he said.

“We’re really excited about it because we’re getting a lot of positive feedback from a lot of people who’ve been doing it 10, 15, 20 years in a row and didn’t miss it before COVID,” Richardson said.

Competitors can jump as part of a team or as individuals.

Since March 2020, the Bridgenorth-Ennismore-Lakefield Rotary Club has purchased personal protective equipment for frontline workers, provided meals to staff and residents at the YES Shelter for Youth and Families, provided treats to residents and staff at long-term care facilities, supported local food banks, offered the Thanksgiving dinners to parishioners and “Christmas present” to local families through the Adopt-a-Family program.

Sign up for the dive online at bit.ly/3YYQlwn

Brendan Burke is a reporter at the Examiner in Peterborough. Its reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Brendan Burke, reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative, The Peterborough Examiner

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