Mild weather, ice thickness lead to changes ahead of Plunging for Pink
Published 8:59 am Thursday, January 25, 2024
Teams continue registering for one of PTTP’s biggest events
One of the biggest events of Paint the Town Pink is coming this weekend, but it will look a little different than in years past.
Because of the mild weather and current ice thickness on East Side Lake, the annual Plunging for Pink is making some changes to how it operates this year.
According to Daneka Wiechmann, PTTP coordinator, only jumpers will be allowed on the ice this year. Spectators will be required to watch from the shore.
Wiechmann said that herself and other organizers and officials, including Parks, Recreation and Forestry and the Austin Fire Department, were at East Side Lake Wednesday and discovered that the ice is 11 inches thick.
“Even the holes they drilled, they haven’t even frozen over,” Wiechmann said.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends that ice be at least four inches thick to walk on, however, with the number of people that usually watch the event from the ice and the continued mild weather, organizers opted for caution instead.
She added that only a certain number of jumpers will be allowed on the ice at any one time and that some of the larger teams will be split up.
Earlier in the month, there had been some hope that the frigid arctic blast that settled over the region would be enough to get the desired thickness, but temperatures quickly reverted to the milder temperatures the area was seeing prior the cold snap.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to reach 36 degrees both today and Friday, followed by a high of 34 on Saturday.
Even with the changes, Wiechmann said there doesn’t seem to be a dampening of the spirit, as registrations continue to come in.
“We are filled up from 2-5 p.m.. We have over 20 teams,” Wiechmann said, adding with a laugh: “Maybe because it is going to be so nice, people are less afraid to jump in the water right now.”
Saturday kicks off at 9 a.m. with a pre-party at the Eagles Club. Onsite Plunge registration will be from 1-2 p.m. at East Side Lake with jumping slated to start at 2 p.m.