Cape Gazette
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VIA preparing for Third Annual Chicken Plunge

Annual event, set for Sept. 6, grows in popularity
By Betty Fleming | Jul 23, 2014
Photo by: Submitted Shown in back is Stephanie Hobbs, chair of the 2014 Chicken Plunge, with the defibrillator purchased with funds raised at the 2013 Chicken Plunge. In front are Theda Blackwelder, president of the Village Improvement Association; and Kent Buckson, captain of Rehoboth Beach Patrol.

Special to the Cape Gazette — Two years ago, something called the Chicken Plunge was held on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk in September, a first-ever event at the time.

 

The Third Annual Chicken Plunge will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6, off Grenoble Place at the end of the Boardwalk, rain or shine.

 

“The event has taken off,” said 2013 and 2014 VIA Chicken Plunge Chair Stephanie Hobbs. "The concept is to have fun for adults and children alike with an alternative fair-weather plunge, unlike the winter one where hardy souls raise money by going into the ocean when it’s cold.

 

“We’ll have games, face painting, kites on the beach, a fire truck experience, food and prizes,” said Hobbs. “There will be a dip in the ocean at 1 p.m. for those able. We’ll also have a small dip on the Boardwalk for the youngest and oldest among us.”

 

“We’ve expanded our offerings for the under 10 years of age group and among new things, we’ll have a chicken-themed costume contest for youngsters and those young at heart,” she added. ”People were already doing this without an invitation from us. They really get into the spirit of this. It was great to see the little ones join in and laugh at the fun we provide.”

 

Cost for the Chicken Plunge is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 to register with a parent. “Those that register, pledge money and buy raffle tickets are eligible for beach buckets of valuable prizes,” said Hobbs. They are also eligible for colorful yellow T-shirts for the event.

 

Sponsors for the Chicken Plunge include: Playland, Delaware National Public Radio, the Cape Gazette and others. “Our sponsors love this event because it gets them in front of their target audience and because they know the money goes to a good cause,” said Hobbs.

 

As in previous years, the Rehoboth Beach Patrol will partly benefit from this event. So far, a beach wheelchair for the disabled and a defibrillator have been given to the lifeguards. Some of the lifeguards will be at the event to help with proceedings and safety.

 

At this and other special events, the VIA also raised funds for its recent capital campaign to renovate the clubhouse. “But that’s over now,” said new VIA President Theda Blackwelder. “We raised $400,000 with 30 new events to pay off our mortgage.”

 

Both Blackwelder and Hobbs have professional work and volunteer experience to draw from, not unlike many of the VIA members.

 

Hobbs, in prior work experience, was a vice president of communication for a trade association and was involved with communications work for Verizon for 32 years. Blackwelder was the busy wife of a Lutheran pastor and worked as a teacher and then director of the Delaware Lutheran Office on Public Policy, traveling across the country to attend meetings and other gatherings. She figures she had over 20 years of active fundraising for Opera Delaware in Wilmington and the Biggs Museum in Dover before she signed on to lead the VIA fundraising for the clubhouse renovation.

 

“We have over 200 members and, with the new clubhouse, we are having a rebirth of energy and activity. There is much to do,” said Blackwelder. “We are seeing some events such as the St. Nicholas Tea and the Annual Fashion Show being quickly sold out. How to deal with success is one of the things we need to think about as we make our yearly plans.”

 

For more information on the VIA, go to www.rehobothbeachVIA.org. To make a pledge for the Chicken Plunge, go to the website and click on events. For more information, call 302-227-1631.

 

 

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