Participants run into Chapman Lake for the Salvation Army Polar Plunge at Winterfest 2024. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

Despite Spring-like Weather, Hundreds Turn Out for Winterfest 2024

February 4, 2024

WARREN, Pa. – Though the weather made it feel more like spring, hundreds still turned out for Winterfest 2024 at Chapman State Park on Saturday.

Parking lots 1 and 2 were overflowing by noon, and parking lot 3 was nearly full despite temperatures in the 40s and sunny skies.

“We were very pleased with the overall turnout, considering the weather,” WCCBI’s John Papalia said.

While some events couldn’t be held, the event’s biggest draw, the Salvation Army Polar Plunge still went ahead. The North Warren VFD firefighters, seven strong, were the largest group to enter the event.

See the North Warren VFD take the plunge:

“It wasn’t bad,” North Warren VFD Chief Shawn Jones said. “It was actually enjoyable.”

Jones added that supporting another organization while raising awareness of the department’s needs was a win-win.

“It’s just like anything else, everybody’s hurting for volunteers or people that can come out and give any kind of a hand,” Jones said. “So if we can show that we can come out and support other organizations and maybe vice versa we can get some support in the same way that’s always a win on our part.”

A new wrinkle was added this year with the “Celebrity Plunge.” Warren Mayor Dave Wortman, Chapman State Park Manager Cody Miller, and Your Daily Local’s Andy Close competed to see who could raise the most money for the Salvation Army.

That honor went to Wortman.

“I think it’s just a great effort,” Wortman said. “There are so many folks here I forget, I didn’t see the total count, but 40 plus people that took the plunge, you know, everybody’s fees going towards the Polar Plunge goes towards funding, in some manner, the Salvation Army. And I think it’s just fantastic to be a part of it. And I’m just happy that all the contributions will go to such a great cause.”

See the “Celebrity Plunge”

Other events included horse-drawn carriage rides, a cardboard sled race, and a demonstration from the Sled Dogs of Smokey Hill.

Photo by Brian Hagberg.
Photo by Brian Hagberg.
Photo by Brian Hagberg.

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