Beach party plunge raises funds for good causes | News, Sports, Jobs


Staff photo by Fritz Busch
2023 Miss New Ulm Coronation royalty participated in the 209 Beach Party fundraiser on Minnesota Street in downtown New Ulm Saturday. From left, first princess Evelyn Schaefer, second princess Malorie Anderson and Miss New Ulm Lana Braun.

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NEW ULM — Polar plunge events usually happen during the winter months, often for good causes like Special Olympics Minnesota or a fearsome rite of passage for visitors to Antarctica and the Arctic.

Since 2019, Kaiserhoff and 209 Pub & Grill owner Herb Knutson has hosted February fundraising plunges to raise money for charitable organizations, New Ulm Police and Fire Departments, the Brown County Humane Society and for Miss New Ulm candidate scholarships.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Cindy Wurtzberger of New Ulm said jumping into a pool of water was on her bucket list, so she participated in the 209 Beach Party in downtown New Ulm Saturday.

Last year the event including an auction including people jumping into a pool of water was moved to August. About $10,000 was donated back to the community.

On Saturday, more than a dozen participants dressed up in costumes including Batman and Santa Claus. An auction, raffle drawings, street dance on Minnesota Street and Best Wing Contest were held.

Participants included KNUJ860/SAM107 radio staffers Brian Filzen and Wendy Forst of New Ulm and Craig Hansen of Sleepy Eye who dressed as Batman. It was Hansen’s first jump into the water fundraiser.

“I’d do anything to help out the community,” said Hansen.

Ryan Schmitz of New Ulm said he came to watch the event just to see the look on participant’s faces when they jump.

“It’s on my bucket list, so I came to jump,” said Cindy Wurtzberger of New Ulm.

Mike Starr of St. Francis said he’s been taking part in Special Olympics Polar Plunges for more than 20 years but entered the 209 Pub & Grill Beach Party Saturday after a brewery tour because a friend of his was not able to participate in the jump.

“It’s just a nice way to help out others,” Starr said after dressing up in a Santa Claus suit.

Marshall life insurance sales woman Amy Nuy of Marshall said she came to New Ulm because she really felt like participating.

“I have good friends here and want to support New Ulm. I think it’s a really great community,” said Nuy.

Jimmy Stenquist of New Ulm dressed up like Little Red Riding Hood and took the plunge as he has for a number of years.

After more than a dozen participants jumped into the pool of water, Knutson challenged others to do it again, pledging hundreds of dollars per jump.

“Our goal was to raise $5,000. I think we surpassed that, but I don’t know exactly how much we raised yet,” said Knutson. “Having the event in September was nice with the weather, but there are lots of other events going on this time of the year at the same time.”

He said he’s thinking about creating another Polar Plunge event for the winter months.

The Hotel Blue Band, a soulful, bluesy, old-school fund, Top 40, rock and blues band performed in a semi trailer on Minnesota Street from 6-10 p.m. Saturday.

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