Penguin Plunge to proceed as planned

Mayor Donald Humason Jr., a state senator at the time of the photo, waves to the crowd during the 2014 Penguin Plunge at Hampton Ponds. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – It’s billed as the “thrill of the big chill” but no matter what the water temperatures are this year, the 17th annual Penguin Plunge figures to bring smiles to its participants and ultimately, its recipients, even with new socially-distanced rules and regulations put in place for this early 2021 event.
Participants will plunge themselves into Hampton Ponds on January 30 to raise funds for the Amelia Park Children’s Museum. Plungers, or “Penguins” as they are known around the event circuit, are asked to solicit donations from family, friends, and local businesses prior to taking the plunge.
The event has raised tens of thousands of dollars throughout the years for the museum to help children learn through play.
While there likely will still be frigid water, wild costumes and lots of prizes, this year’s Penguin Plunge will be slightly different though due to coronavirus concerns.
“This has always been a very popular event from the sponsors to the local businesses to the participants, the fire department, police department, and spectators,” Amelia Park Children’s Museum Executive Director Ray Radigan said. “It’s always a fun event. Especially this year, at a time like this, even to do a modified event seems like a win, not just for our organization, but for the community.”
Several safety protocols have been put in place this year.
Plunge times will be scheduled in advance. Plunge participants will asked to arrive no more than 10 minutes before their scheduled time. Each participant will be allowed no more than one guest. Spectators will not be allowed to attend, but the event will be broadcast live on Facebook Live and local access television.
“Our Board of Directors and leadership looked at all of our options and felt that having a modified event (such as this one) meets all of the health and safety standards … and is still fun and engaging,” Radigan said.
Prizes will be awarded for best individual costume, best team costume, and for the highly-coveted Penguin Excelsior – the 2021 plunger who raises the most money – which features a $500 cash prize.
The event will be held from noon to 2 p.m.
Anyone interesting in participating in the 2021 Penguin Plunge is urged to sign up online at

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