The Lakeside Pavilion hosts summer crowds anxious for a taste of beautiful Lake Erie along the Marblehead Peninsula. In winter, it’s still a lovely site — and the perfect place for the 2nd annual “Jingle Jump” on Saturday, a breath-taking jaunt into frosty waters.
There was a method to this madness on Saturday. When 25 brave souls made the splash and hundreds came to watch — and donate — it was one more step in financing a renevation of the Lakeside Pavilion, a keystone building at Lakeside Chautauqua.
Officials want to bring the fabled Lakeside Pavilion first built in 1909 into the modern era. Knowing it will be costly, last week on #GivingTuesday the Lakeside community opened its hearts and generously gave more than $270,000 to start the upgrades, said Lakeside acting president Dan Dudley.
“Everyone loves the pier in summer, but the pavilion’s beautiful upper room is not heated or cooled so it’s seldom used, especially in winter,” said Dudley.
“We want to make those improvements, as well as add a fresh coat of paint, LED exterior lighting, and make the West Deck handicapped accessible, among other things.”
Dudley went so far as drop a donation in the pot and take part in the “Jingle Jump,” while wearing a full shark suit, no less. His wife , Karen, got chillingly soaked while adorned in more traditional holiday garb.
The “Jingle Jump” winners were: Best Dressed, The Baesel Family; Most Money Raised:\, Team Nurnberger; Most Festive Jumper, Karen Dudley; and Most Team Spirit, Edna Cox.
“The ‘Jingle Jump’ raised an additional $500 for the Lakeside Pavilion project,” said Elizabeth Fantozzi of the marketing department. “And it was a great way to kick off the weekend’s “A Lakeside Christmas” festivities.”
In 1909, it cost only $4,724 to build the Lakeside Pavilion, then the first large-scale entrance to Lakeside. It house a cafeteria, telegraph office and boat rental, but quickly became the premier gathering place for the resort.
The constant wear and tear from the Lake Erie elements required a new pavilion to be built in 1962, and yet another in 1988. In the 110 years since the first pavilion had been built, though, it is unlikely many decided to take a winter swim over the last century — until the “Jingle Jump” made its debut last year.
“Oh, it was a lot colder last year,” said a repeat swimmer. “The sun was out this time, and the water was a balmy 49 degrees.”
Just in case, the Danbury Township Fire Department had two firemen wearing dry suits in the water for the entire “Jingle Jump.”