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A leap of fun: Freeze Fest

The plunge’s popular costume contest always results in memorable getups, from the Coneheads to Superman and everything in between. The top three winners get cash prizes. Focus file photo1 / 2
Three hot tubs and a warming house will once again be on site for "jumpers." Focus file photo2 / 2

It’s that time of year again to ‘chill out’ and have some fun at Perham’s Freeze Fest.

This is the fifth year in a row that the community has taken part in this winter fundraising event. All proceeds go to Kinship of the Perham Area to benefit children in need.

Freeze Fest events will be ongoing on Saturday, Feb. 8, including the ‘big event’ of the day – the Freezin’ for a Reason polar plunge, set to start at 1 p.m. at Zorbaz on Little Pine Lake.

At press time, the weather on Saturday was predicted to reach a low of 17 degrees below zero, with a high of 10 above. But unless there are strong, cold winds, the plunge will go on as planned.

“Looking at it today, it looks like it’s a go,” said Perham Kinship Director Jill Shipman on Monday. “If it’s really windy, that would be the only thing that would cause us to reschedule the plunge.”

Even if that were to happen, she added, the other events of the day would still go on.

Those events include something new this year – a Two-Person Blindfolded Snowmobile Race. It’s just like it sounds: the drivers of the snowmobiles will be blindfolded as they try to navigate through a quarter-mile course on Little Pine Lake, while the riders on the back give them directions.

The event is being hosted by the Otter Trail Riders Snowmobile Club. There’s a $10 entry fee, with the winner getting half the total pot and Kinship getting the rest. The race will begin immediately after the polar plunge, Shipman said, in an effort to keep the party going for a while longer.

Not that the fun stops there. Even after the snowmobile race, the party will continue. At that point, the crowd will move off the ice and into Zorbaz, where food will be served and raffle prizes awarded. Tickets for the party are $20, which covers the cost of food, a beverage, and entry into the prize raffle.

Shipman said prizes this year will include a large snowblower, an iPad, an ultimate makeover, a woman’s necklace and more. Tickets are available in advance at Mark’s Fleet Supply or the Perham Chamber, or by contacting Shipman.

Other Freeze Fest events will include a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. Saturday morning, served at Zorbaz by the Perham Lions, and the annual Freeze Your Face 5K Race, which will start at 9 a.m. Registration will begin one hour prior to that, at Perham High School. Runners may contact Jeff Morris for more information, at 218-371-5992.

As of Monday, Shipman said she had no idea how many jumpers to expect at the plunge this year, but was hopeful that the weather forecast – which was promising a sunny day – would convince people to come out for it.

Each participant raises at least $50 in pledges for Kinship before taking the plunge.

As always, people will be dressing up in creative and outrageous costumes for the event. The plunge’s popular costume contest always results in memorable getups, from the Coneheads to Superman and everything in between. The top three winners get cash prizes.

There will be three hot tubs and a warming house on site for jumpers. Participants may want to wear shoes to keep their feet from sticking to the ice.

Registration for the plunge will start at about noon.

For more information about Freeze Fest, contact Jill Shipman at 346-7102.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Perham Focus more than five years ago, and has since worn many hats as writer, editor and page designer. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their one-year-old son, Simon, and their yellow lab, Louisa. 

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