Austin polar plunge raised over $16,000 in ’13 for Institute’s breast cancer research

Plunging for Pink - The Hormel Institute

After luring more than 100 people to jump into the icy waters of East Side Lake last winter, organizers are seeking to double the number of participants and overall donations for next month’s “Plunging for Pink” event.

The 2nd annual “Plunging for Pink” polar plunge is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at East Side Lake. Volunteers from the Austin Vision 2020 Waterways Committee once again are organizing the event. The Austin Parks & Recreation Department is providing support, with the Austin Fire Department and paramedics to be on site that day for safety.

Plunge organizers are hoping to attract 200 plungers this year and double the event’s PTTP donation to about $32,000, said Joe Muzik, lead organizer of “Plunging for Pink.” In February 2013, the inaugural “Plunging for Pink” raised more than $16,000 for The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research, making it the second biggest fundraiser for the Austin area’s annual pink initiative to raise awareness and support for The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned breast cancer research.

This year, the festivities at East Side Lake will begin with a pre-plunge tent sponsored by Tolly’s Timeout for ages 21 and older, starting at 1 p.m. and featuring food, beverages and music.

Organizers also have arranged for another post-plunge celebration hosted at the Austin Holiday Inn’s conference center, starting with a casual meal and awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. The Bissen Brothers Band then will perform starting at 8 p.m.

“We’re all extremely excited about the success of last year’s event and using that momentum to make this year’s plunge even bigger while supporting a great cause like The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research,” Muzik said. “We’re hearing from many new and returning plungers and we encourage everyone to talk to their friends, family or coworkers about creating a plunge team or making a donation.”

Each plunge participant is asked to raise at least $50 in donations to submit to organizers that day, with 100 percent of those funds directly going toward breast cancer research at The Hormel Institute. Check donations can be written to “The Hormel Institute.” Participants will get a “Plunging for Pink” T-shirt and complimentary ticket to the post-plunge party.

Plungers are encouraged to bring a towel and warm clothes to change into inside one of two heated, enclosed trailers that will be on site. Two hot tubs also will be available to plungers for warming up. Those under age 18 can plunge but must have permission and a signed waiver from a parent or legal guardian. They also must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at the plunge.

Online registration is available at The website also offers details on the event and post-plunge party; photos from last year’s plunge; Frequently Asked Questions; and a list of local businesses supporting the event.

Non-plungers are encouraged to watch the action at East Side Lake as well as attend the post-plunge party for free – the only cost will be $10 if they choose to eat, with proceeds going to the Institute’s research.

Austin’s PTTP festivities officially are set for Feb. 14-23, although some events will occur earlier, including pink weekend festivities Feb. 1-2 in Rose Creek and Feb. 7-9 in Brownsdale. The festival’s cornerstone event is the Austin Bruins’ “Paint the Rink Pink” hockey game set for Feb. 22.

In 2013, “Paint the Town Pink” raised more than $115,000 for The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research, topping a goal of $100,000. This year’s goal is to raise at least $150,000 for breast cancer research.

For more details about PTTP events or to add an event, contact PTTP director Kathi Finley at 507-460-0259 or PTTP updates also are available online at or