Lakeside Chautauqua hosted its first ever “Jingle Jump” on Saturday, where locals and guests were invited to take a cold dip in the lake.
Jon Stinchcomb, Reporter
LAKESIDE – Plunging neck deep in Lake Erie might sound like one of the last ways you would want to kick off your weekend at this time of year, but a few brave souls in Lakeside were looking forward to just that.
Lakeside Chautauqua hosted its first ever “Jingle Jump” on Saturday, where locals and guests were invited to take a cold dip in the lake. Though it was free to participate, the event raised money for the Lakeside Annual Fund to support the lakefront through donations.
While Lakeside’s dock and pavilion is a very popular summer destination with a beautiful view overlooking the beach, a brisk December morning does not usually draw as much activity as there was on Saturday for the inaugural “Jingle Jump.”
“We’re trying to do things in the offseason to bring people out and bring people together,” said Gretchen Colon, senior vice president of advancement and communications at Lakeside Chautauqua.
Both the temperature outside and of the lake was in the 30s, but that was exactly the point for their take on the “polar plunge,” where participants jump into a body of water despite how cold it is, often for a charitable cause.
“We just said, ‘Let’s try it this year,’” Colon said of the “Jingle Jump,” where several of those who took the leap were Lakeside Chautauqua employees.
The event tied in with their annual “A Lakeside Christmas” celebration throughout the weekend, which also included activities for kids, such as sleigh rides, a performance from children’s musician Chip Richter and a community dinner with Santa Claus.
“We thought it was a great idea,” said Daniel Dudley, chief financial and operating officer of Lakeside Chautauqua. “I kind of always wanted to do this — I didn’t have to travel anywhere, I just got to do it right here.”
Dudley looked the part. Though being dressed as a typical summer beachgoer did not keep him any warmer and it was not his first choice.
As a graduate of the University of Michigan, Dudley had planned an entire outfit supporting the Michigan Wolverines football team. But when Michigan lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes two weeks ago, Dudley said he had to come up with another option.
“I knew we would be running in off the beach, so I thought beach attire would probably be a good option,” he said. “It was fun. I had a great time.”
Dudley described the water as “a little bit chilly,” but some others went as far to say it was “freezing.” They got the chance to warm up with some hot chocolate after the jump.
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