Cold ‘Plunge’ will top FLake Festival

Family-friendly events scheduled Feb. 17-26

Fundraising for the 4th of July fireworks in Forest Lake will get a boost with city staff and council members committing to participate in the Rotary Club’s “Gettin’ Cold for a Cause” 3rd annual Winter Plunge this Saturday, Feb. 18. The water temperature for City Administrator Aaron Parrish and Mayor Chris Johnson won’t be nearly as warm as it was for high school students who were splashing around in the pool at Southwest Junior High School. (Photo by Jennifer Mevissen)

Jennifer Mevissen
Staff Writer

The area has seen below normal snowfall this season, but that won’t hinder plans for the 2nd annual FLake Festival which gets underway this Friday.

A flurry of activities are slated for the week-long celebration in Forest Lake. 

The Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, along with sponsor Roberts Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, are presenting the 2012 FLake Festival.

Starting on Saturday, hunters will be searching for this year’s medallion that is hidden in one of the city of Forest Lake’s many parks, except for Lakeside and Fenway.

To take home $500 for unearthing the prized object, the finder must have purchased a button for the medallion hunt. The cost is $5 each and can be purchased at area businesses. There’s also $500 on the line for a button buyer in a raffle drawing.

Colleen Eddy, Chamber president, said a limited number of 350 buttons are being sold this year – increasing the odds for the lucky raffle winner.

“The chances are very good,” she said.

Clues for the medallion hunt will be posted each morning – until found – online at, and

Last month, Mayor Chris Johnson encouraged city staff to participate in the Forest Lake Rotary Club’s ‘Gettin’ Cold for a Cause” 3rd annual Winter Plunge. His prodding paid off, with the full council agreeing – with a few members doing so begrudgingly. However, councilmen Jim DuFour backed out due to doctor’s orders and  Michael Freer has another engagement to attend, but both said at Monday’s meeting they’d be on hand to support their colleagues including City Administrator Aaron Parrish.

Councilwoman Susan Young said doing the winter plunge will be a great team-building exercise. The money raised by their team will go towards fundraising for the 4th of July fireworks.

Blake Roberts, past Rotary president and current club member, said they’ve addressed concerns that have been raised by the unseasonably warm temperatures. No motorized vehicles will be allowed within 100 yards of the hole. As of last week, Washington County reported there to be 13 inches of ice on First Lake.

There will be bleachers for spectators, and the heated tent and hot tubs will be close to the action. The water depths where participants will plunge is estimated at around 42 inches.

“If anything were to happen, we’d only be standing in waist-deep water,” Roberts joked.

In 2011, 450 plungers raised around $110,000, a majority of which the proceeds will go towards local non-profits.

“We’re really hoping we can hit $150,000 this year,” he said.

And according to early statistics, they’re ahead of the fundraising totals and number of participants in previous years.

To register for the event or to pledge a donation, visit

Schedule of events

Friday, Feb. 17

6-8 p.m. Registration at Vannelli’s by the Lake for the Rotary Club of Forest Lake’s “Gettin’ Cold for a Cause” 3rd annual Winter Plunge

6-9 p.m. Pond hockey tournament starts on Forest Lake

Saturday, Feb. 18

All-day – Ice sculpture demonstrations at Lakeside Memorial Park will be on display until melted

8 a.m. 2nd annual Medallion Hunt begins

8 a.m. Pond hockey tournament on Forest Lake

10 a.m. The Guard will present the Colors in the gazebo at Lakeside Memorial Park

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration at Vannelli’s for the Rotary Club’s Winter Plunge.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gingerbread House making at Century Junior High School (Please bring your own decorations)

12-3 p.m. “Gettin’ Cold for a Cause” 3rd annual Winter Plunge at Lakeside Memorial Park

7 p.m. Red Solo Cup Party & BBQ at Forest Lake American Legion Post 225

Sunday, Feb. 19

2-5 p.m. Chili Feed & Beer Bust at The Forest Laker (All donations fund the River Riders and A.B.A.T.E.)

Monday, Feb. 20

All-day – Open skate on pond hockey rink

1-2 p.m. Forest Lake VFW Post 4210 flag collection for flag retirement at Lakeside Memorial Park

Tuesday, Feb. 21

10:30 a.m. “Celebrate Winter” Preschool Storytime at the Hardwood Creek Library in Forest Lake

Wednesday, Feb. 22

10:30 a.m. “Celebrate Winter” Preschool Storytime at the Hardwood Creek Library in Forest Lake

Thursday, Feb. 23

10:30 a.m. “Celebrate Winter” Preschool Storytime at the Hardwood Creek Library in Forest Lake

6-9 p.m. Progressive Dinner. Enjoy appetizers at Stella’s on 97, a dinner at Vannelli’s and finish with dessert in Wyoming at the Village Inn. Don’t worry about driving to each location; catch the party bus and ride with other community people. The cost is $40 per person. (Tickets available at the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce office)

6:30 p.m. “Celebrate Winter” Pajama Storytime at the Hardwood Creek Library in Forest Lake

Friday, Feb. 24

6 p.m. Medallion Hunt button ticket drawing at Vannelli’s

Saturday, Feb. 25

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. FLAAA Softball Tournament on Forest Lake

10:30 a.m. “Celebrate Winter” Toddler Storytime at the Hardwood Creek Library in Forest Lake

6-8 p.m. Bonfire at Lakeside Memorial Park

Sunday, Feb. 26

9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Yellow Ribbon Breakfast at American Legion

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. FLAAA Softball Tournament on Forest Lake