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Irvington Residents Take The Penguin Plunge

Irvington residents took a dip in the Hudson River on Saturday to raise money for the Parks and Recreaction Department.
Irvington residents took a dip in the Hudson River on Saturday to raise money for the Parks and Recreaction Department. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Why would anyone willingly jump into the icy Hudson River in early March? It's for a good cause.

The second annual Irvington Penguin Plunge took place Saturday morning at Mathiessen Park. A large group of residents jumped into the Hudson River in front of more than 1,000 onlookers.

The plunge is a fundraiser for the Irvington F.A.C.E. committee, which supports programs for the Irvington Parks and Recreation Department such as the Fourth of July fireworks and summer camp scholarships.

Participants decked themselves in elaborate costumes. Heather Bancroft and Jimmy Annicharico took home Best Costume awards for their bathtub and hot tub get-ups. Irvington Mayor Brian Smith took home the Top Earner award, having raised $14,000.

Event officials said the Hudson River's temperature on Saturday was 37 degrees. Irvington firefighter William Baisley was not fazed.

"I'm not worried," he said before the plunge. "The cold doesn't bother me."

Baisley dressed as the Statue of Liberty for his plunge, saying he wanted to dress as something nostalgic and knew someone who had the costume. This was his first year taking the plunge.

"I was here last year as a spectator and they asked   the fire department to get more involved. I thought 'Why not?'" he said.

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