B'ville's third annual Big Chill next weekend

Imagine 150 summer-clad individuals wading into the Seneca River this January.

Those are the numbers Big Chill organizers are hoping to recruit for the Baldwinsville winter festival's main event, the Polar Bear Plunge. People seem to enjoy the chilly challenge of jumping into the icy waters along the edge of Mercer Park as registration more than doubled from 30 plungers the first year to 75 the second year. Organizers hope the trend continues.

"Beat the winter blues and help some charities and the community," said Lee Wilder, executive director of the Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce and an organizer of the event.

Now in its third year, Baldwinsville's Big Chill will be held Friday Jan. 29 and Saturday Jan. 30.

Friday's activities include the Vino-Casino, held from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Red Mill Inn.

"Come out and join us in tasting 8 to 10 wines from around the world," Wilder said.

Empire Merchants will offer a unique selection of wines from all parts of the globe, Tabatha's Restaurant will provide a creative array of hors d'oeuvres throughout the evening and GR8Shows.com will bring casino gaming to the Red Mill Inn where prize winners will be announced every 15 minutes.

Saturday's activities will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at Mercer Park.

Individual plungers will take to the chilly waters beginning at 1 p.m. with increments of four or five people at a time. At 1:45 p.m., corporate teams will take the plunge.

In addition to the Polar Bear Plunge, the event will include a snowman building contest (from 1 to 2 p.m.) and a Best-in-Bowl tasting competition held under a 40- by 90-foot heated tent. Area restaurants will offer samples of their best dish, a change from last year's chili cook-off. Admission to the tent is $10 per person (no cost for children under 12 years old). Participants can also hang out by the bonfire and listen to music playing all afternoon.

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