Locals pledge to plunge for charity once more

by Town Reminder

Locals pledge to plunge for charity once more
Second-annual Leprechaun Plunge makes a big splash

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer, kwill@turley.com

SOUTH HADLEY – With the success of the first-ever Leprechaun Plunge last year at Brunelle’s Marina, which raised $18,000 for seven charities, event organizers vowed to make it an annual occurrence.
Scheduled for the Sunday prior to the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 20, residents and community members from the area are encouraged to sign up to plunge into the freezing waters of the Connecticut River on Sunday, March 13 at 12 p.m. at Brunelle’s Marina.
By pledging to plunge, funds will be raised for the Dana Farber Jimmy Fund, Springfield Shriners Hospital, South Hadley youth and high school athletics, the Joe Kareta Scholarship Fund, the Donnie Baker Scholarship Fund and Jessie’s House.
Plungers decide on which charity they plan to raise funds and then solicit donations from various sponsors.
Luke Brunelle, one of the organizers of the event, hopes to double the amount of funds raised last year.
“We’re excited,” said Brunelle. “ I hope the river will cooperate and the snow will go away.”
Regardless of the temperature or the amount of snow, the Plunge will go on. Thus far, between 20 and 30 people have registered.
Prizes are awarded to both plungers and businesses who raise the largest, second largest and third largest amounts of money. On the individual side, the first prize, called the “Pot of Gold,” is $500. Second prize, the “Lucky Irishman” is $300. The third is called “Over the Rainbow” and a gift certificate of $100 is given. Additionally, there is the “Hottie Leprechaun” award given to the “hottest” male or female plunger. A spa day is awarded to that recipient.
On the business side, the top five businesses that raise $1,000 or more will be given the “Golden Shamrock Award,” which includes a charter cruise for 25 people on the Lady Bea river cruise boat.
Following the Plunge will be an Irish celebratory dinner of corned beef and cabbage at 2 p.m. Also that evening is the Bobby Darling Dinner Show from 6 to 8 p.m.
A fee of $30 is required to take the Plunge. Included in that fee is a long-sleeved T-shirt and a ticket to the Irish celebratory dinner. The fee is donated to charity. Plungers have until March 6 to register for the Leprechaun Plunge, however, Brunelle said they will take registrants up to the day of the event.
For those wanting to raise funds for charity but not willing to take a dip in the water, nicknamed “Chicken Plungers,” event organizers offer $30 tickets to the Irish dinner. Those funds will also benefit the six charities.
Those interested in plunging, leaping or merely dipping their toes in the water are directed to the Brunelle’s Marina website, located at http://www.brunelles.com
, to download the pledge, registration and waiver liability forms.
“We want as many people to participate as possible,” said Brunelle.
Inspired by the bravery of plungers and the event as a whole, Brunelle’s Marina is in the process of designing a parade float, to enter in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Irish Float competition. The float, which Brunelle said they are trying to “make similar to the plunge,” is for charity, and the group is looking for sponsors.
Brunelle’s Marina is located at 1 Alvord Street in South Hadley. Leprechaun Plunge registration forms, as well as pledge forms and waiver liability forms, can be downloaded at the Marina’s website at http://www.brunelles.com
. The forms are also available at Dockside Restaurant and other locations in town. For more information, call (413) 536-3132.