Swimming for a cause

Photos courtesy Manson Chamber of Commerce The 2nd Annual Viki Downey Polar Bear Swim was held during the second weekend of Winterfest on Jan. 25 in beautiful Manson Bay. Approximately 50 braved the cold waters of Lake Chelan and raised money for the Manson Parks Dept. swimming lesson program.

Viki Downey, Manson Parks Dept. Aquatic Supervisor.

Festival goers enjoy a ride on the Apple Bin Train.

Brave Polar Bear Swimmers.

A bonfire kept swimmers and spectators warm before and after the swim.

The Ice Tower was lit up on Saturday evening, along with wishes from festival goers, that were written down and dropped inside the ice tower.

The Manson Chamber of Commerce’s ice sculpture.

MANSON - Winterfest in the Chelan Valley brought hundreds of people to our small town to enjoy, family events like carriage rides, ice slides, apple bin train rides, Mystery Mitten walks, crafts, Polar Bear Dips, sledding, magic shows, teen center activities and more.  Live music filled the streets the various businesses and wineries.  There was plenty of opportunity for wine, ale and cider tasting with hot chocolate for the kids.
With or without snow, there was fun to be had for all ages.
According to Bold Hat Productions, 80% of the attendees for the Chelan weekend, were from Western Washington, 18% were from Chelan/Wenatchee and 2% were from Eastern Washington. 53% of the participants said they had attended before, 39% had attended before but not last year and 3% had never attended.
The second weekend in Manson 53% of the people attending had attended before, 39% said that they had attended but not last year and 3% had never attended.  35% of those attending were from the Chelan/Wenatchee area and 65% were from Western Washington.
It seems a lot of people enjoy this event so much they do come back again subsequent years.
Winterfest has been happening in the valley for a long time. It began as small event in Don Morse Park with snow carving and family games, polar bear splash and fire works. It existed that way for over 20 years. We began to make major changes to the event in 2007 and hold events in both downtown Chelan and the park. In 2011, I believe, we began the buttons and added in the wine walk and Ice carving. Five to 6 years ago   the Manson Weekend was added.
So many people to thank for the success of this event from Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, Manson Chamber of Commerce, Bold Hat Productions, participating businesses and the multitudes of volunteers.

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