The second Annual Hanging Rock Lake Polar Plunge is set for this Friday afternoon with festivities kicking off at 1:30 p.m., a parade of costumes scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and the actual plunge taking place at 3 p.m.
The annual event, sponsored by the Stokes County Arts Council, draws thrill seekers from throughout the state to Hanging Rock State Park to jump in the frigid Hanging Rock Lake and help raise funds for arts related activities at the park.
Stokes County Arts Council Director Eddy McGee said after an amazing success with the inaugural event last year he is hoping to see it grow even more this year. McGee said he is hoping to see 100 people jump in the lake this year.
Plungers can pre-register for the event for $25 at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2467032. Day-of registration will cost $35. Registration is limited to participants 14 years-old or older, and participants aged 14 to 17 have to have signed permission from a parent or legal guardian.
McGee said all participants would receive a bath towel with the Hanging Rock Polar Plunge logo.
Participants are encouraged to wear costumes for the event, and this year a costume contest will be held with prizes for first, second, and third place.
“We have some pottery and local art work for second and third place,” McGee said. “For first place we are trying to get together something larger with a gift basket.”
The event also draws a large crowd of onlookers, and McGee said this year there will be a special place for plungers roped off so the onlookers can get a great view of the plunge.
Tory Mabe will be providing music for the event and the Stokes County Arts Council will have chili, chicken stew, hot dogs and hot drinks for sale through out the afternoon.
Park Superintendent Robin Riddlebarger said the park would also be hosting a First Day guided hike to Hanging Rock on New Years Day. She said those wishing to go on the hike should meet at the Hanging Rock trail head at 10 a.m.
“It looks like it will be a little warmer than last,” said McGee. “Right now it is supposed to be 50 and sunny. At 50 when you leave the water it will not be that bad.”
He said plungers will be provided a heated changing area to get out of their cold, wet clothes after making the plunge.
“It will be fun,” he said. “It is a great way to start off the year. It will be a great eye opener for 2016. People are excited about it.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.