The "Pitts-burrrrrgh" Drowned Hogs will take their seventh annual plunge into the Monongahela River to help local kids and assist Punxsutawney Phil predict when spring is to arrive.
The fundraiser benefitting Circle C Youth & Family Services is set for Saturday, Feb. 4, and will begin with warm-ups at 11 a.m. at the boat launching ramp at South Side Riverfront Park. The "Plunge" is at noon and there is no foul weather date. For complete event details go to www.circlec.net.
Swimmers and the public are welcome to share a hot cup of coffee compliments of Starbucks, Pittsburgh's own Better-Maid Donuts, and some inspiring headdresses and other "flotation devices" from Kahuna Balloona. Mastershield is hosting a "Hog Wash" where swimmers can get doused with warm water to shake off the chill of the "Mon."
The president of the Pittsburgh Polar Bear Club, Frank Nelson, will help lead the charge along with "Head Hog," Al Bollinger. Special guest, Tom "Crazy Hog" Haddock, a 17 year plunge veteran of the "Drowned Hogs," is flying to the Burrrrrgh to represent the original Boston chapter for the Pittsburgh swim. Mr. Bollinger and Mr. Haddock co-founded the event in Hull Massachusetts (www.drownedhogs.org). Their efforts have raised over half a million dollars for Wellspring, a community action and human service organization.
Recommendations from the Drowned Hogs for a fun and safe plunge include:
Wear footgear. Whether old sneakers or custom Tevas, traction is important for safety.
Have a Designated Dryer to hold your dry gear and towel so you can warm up quick!
Don't feel the need to consume your weight in alcohol before you swim. It's blood thinning effects encourages exposure. There will be plenty of time to party after the swim.
Try not to challenge the elements. The water may cause hypothermia quickly (water temps usually around 36°), so feel free to frolic like a good Drowned Hog, but don't try a river crossing.
We are always asked if wet-suits are permitted. Yes, if you wear a tiara and a tutu!
A simple but great idea is to bring a gallon jug filled with warm water with you. Pour it over your head and you'll warm up and wash-off the river silt!
After the plunge, all are invited to the "Hog Thaw Jam" at the Inn-Termission Lounge, 1908 East Carson Street, for warm chili compliments of Piper's Pub, door prizes and hot blues by Miss Freddye and Mike Huston.