Communities Events

The Plunge: Freezin’ for a Reason

Tim Parrish takes the Polar Plunge as Elvis. Photo by Fred Alexander

On Saturday, February 17, at 11:30 a.m., Haywood Waterways Association (HWA) and the Town of Canton will host The Plunge: Freezin’ for a Reason. The event, now in its sixth year, will benefit HWA’s Kids in the Creek program and other environmental education initiatives. Participation costs $25 for adults and $10 for children under 18; or plungers can participate for free by raising sponsorships from their family, friends and co-workers. All plungers will receive a t-shirt.

While The Plunge has historically been held at Lake Junaluska, this year’s event will be held at the new Canton Pool because the lake’s dam will be undergoing repairs. “Canton was more than happy to host this year,” says Eric Romaniszyn, executive director of HWA. “At the pool, folks will have an opportunity for an ‘all-or-nothing’ jump off the diving board.” But the Plunge doesn’t have to be as dramatic as it sounds. “There will still be a wade-in opportunity for those that would rather not,” he adds.

Andrew Bowen, an active plunge participant, took part in one of the first Kids in the Creek events 15 years ago. “Kids in the Creek is an awesome program that gets kids outside of the classroom and into a tangible learning experience with nature,” Bowen says. “The Plunge raises money to ensure that Kids in the Creek continues and I can see no better and more fun way to help.”

Amy Harrington, an 8th-grade science teacher at Bethel Elementary School, has participated in the Plunge for four years running. “Kids in the Creek is especially important to my students and me,” she says. “Each year, my students get hands-on experience in fish and benthic macro-invertebrate identification, watershed health and water chemistry. They are so enthralled with it that they don’t even realize how much they are learning.” While the cause is a great motivator for Harrington, she says the experience itself is a draw, too. “The entire morning of the Plunge is a blast: music, a bonfire, face paint, silly costumes and energetic groups of friends crazy enough to jump into a freezing cold lake [or pool] for something they are all passionate about.”

To register for The Plunge, visit For more information about the event or Kids in the Creek, call Haywood Waterways Association at 828.476.4667 or email More information about Kids in the Creek can be found at

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