Join the Buckeye Lake Polar Plunge!

A brave soul participates in the Buckeye Lake Polar Plunge.
Photo from Visit Fairfield County

January 19, 2023
By POL Intern Reporter Hope Schmidt

Brrr! Another Ohio winter is upon us!

For most people, cuddling up with a huge blanket next to a heater sounds like the best way to spend a chilly winter day. However, there are others who would rather suit up in their favorite funky costume and take a dip in Buckeye Lake.

On January 29, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Buckeye Lake Winery (13750 Rosewood Drive NE, Thornville) will host the Ninth Annual Polar Plunge to benefit local United Ways.

This event is for any daredevil who wants to give back to the community. For a small donation of $35.00 per person or $120 for a team of four, you and your friends can leap into the frigid waters of Buckeye Lake. (The day we posted this story, the water temperature was 39-degrees. For the current water temperature visit

Heaters will be supplied to help warm you up after your splash.

To sign up for the plunge, visit the registration page. Make sure you include your T-shirt size so you can rep some Polar Plunge gear!

You can sign-up individually for the Plunge or as a group. Photo from the United Way of Fairfield County

If the United Way of Fairfield County receives $1,000 in donations, both Fairfield County Sheriff Alex Lape and District 77 State Representative Jeff LaRe have promised to take jump in. Want to see them take the plunge? Donate by texting “CSHERIFFJUMP” to 41-444.

“The Fairfield County United Way does a lot of good in our community. I want to help them be successful.” Lape explained.

United Way is a non-profit organization that helps to fund many influential programs in central Ohio surrounding education, financial stability and health.

“We want to have healthy babies that grow, are ready to learn, succeed in school, obtain gainful employment, have healthy families and a healthy life!” said Carrie Woody, Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Fairfield County.

Last year, 95 participants raised a collective $11,000!

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “what if I want to donate but not jump?”

Well, Buckeye Lake Winery has you covered! You can still join the event by selecting the “Too Cold to Jump” option on the Polar Plunge registration page. The $35.00 donation qualifies you to receive the same stylish tee as the jumpers!

“They will have live music, a DJ, and plenty of food and beverage! Last year it was standing room only (inside and out) with spectators and patrons enjoying the festivities!” Carrie Woody commented. “We look forward to another fun-filled year!”

Photo from the United Way of Fairfield County
Photo from the United Way of Fairfield County

Photo from Visit Fairfield County

The Polar Plunge is the day after Buckeye Lake Winterfest.

Winterfest is the biggest event of the year at the lake. Everyone comes out to party in the cold while hoping for an early spring.

But how will they know if spring will come early in 2023?

A bass named “Benny” has the answer! Winterfest kicks off at 6:30 a.m. on January 28 in North Shore Park with music and dancing. At 7 a.m., the party will gather around Benny’s tank on the boat ramp.

In a ceremony fitting the occasion, a proclamation will be read foretelling spring, then live minnows will be poured into Benny’s tank.

As the crowd chants, “Take the bait, spring can’t wait!” a timer counts down from three minutes.  If Benny does not eat a minnow before time runs out, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does take the bait, then Ohio will see flowers blooming in no time.

Regardless of Benny’s prediction, the ceremony will be followed by fireworks over the water.

That is not all, though! In all the towns around the lake, restaurants and bars will be offering food and drink specials and live entertainment. The local businesses and shops will have sales and giveaways.

For a complete itinerary, visit the Escape to Buckeye Lake website. There you will find an interactive trail map as well as information on where to park and party bus stops. (You can buy ride-all-day wristbands for $40.00 online.)

Or download the Escape to Buckeye Lake app to make your visit go as smooth as ice.

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