A record turnout of Tamaqua YMCA members, employees, board members and volunteers represented themselves as the Tamaqua YMCA team while participating in the 6th annual YMCA St Patty's Day Marsh Madness Plunge for Kids event held Saturday at Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County.
Hundreds of spectators, representing area YMCA branches, watched as over 300 people of all ages jumped into the chilly lake water to raise funds for children's programs at the "Y".
The Tamaqua YMCA team traveled via the Tamaqua YMCA bus to participate in the annual cold water plunge event. Pledge funds raised prior to the event go to each YMCA's youth programs.
As a precaution, dive teams were also stationed in the water and on boats.
The event encourages each competing YMCA branch to compete with other teams in various categories, ranging from costume to funds raised.
The Tamaqua YMCA theme this year was "Cowboys, Cowgirls and Indians." 20 members of the Tamaqua YMCA team were either painted from head to toe as native Indians or dressed in western attire as gunslinging cowboys or cowgirls.
A helicopter even flew overhead as part of one of the team's themes. Even though the weather was on the warm side, jumpers said that the water was still very, very cold.
Nick Zigmant, Tamaqua YMCA executive director, stated his appreciation to all the Tamaqua participants who made the event a fun one. The chilly event raised over $40,000, which will help over 300 children participate in many programs offered by local YMCAs.
Free food was also provided afterwards to all the participants. Anyone wanting to participate in next year's plunge is encouraged to call or stop by the Tamaqua YMCA.