Conn. Penguin Plunge Raises 46K

Superheroes, selectmen, students and men in drag were among dozens of area residents who braved single-digit air temperatures Saturday to participate in this year’s Penguin Plunge into Highland Lake.
The annual event, now in its seventh year, raises funds for Special Olympics. Plungers included Winsted, Ct. Selectman Glenn Albanesius, Litchfield First Selectman Leo Paul, numerous student organizations, and even Michael Marciano, this newspaper’s editor.
The nonprofit organization provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The Connecticut chapter annually organizes more than 50 tournaments and competitions in 21 different sports.
This year’s 128 participants raised $46,000 on the day of the event, according to Sharon Pelkey, the development director for Special Olympics Connecticut’s Northwest Region.
Pelkey added that the nonprofit organization has continued to receive donations from the Highland plunge.

“The fundraising from the plunges raises a significant part of the monies we need to continue our training and athletic competitions,” Pelkey told The Journal Monday.

“More than half of our budget depends on successful plunges,” she said.

The Southbury-based Northwest Region of Special Olympics Connecticut holds three plunges each year, with the chapter adding a new plunge in Danbury on March 7 at Candlewood Lake Park.

The region’s next plunge is this Saturday, Feb. 6, at Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury.

For more information about the Special Olympics or upcoming plunges, visit


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