Concordians freeze their butts off for charity

Stop by the True Brew Barista on Feb. 1 for a night of warm hearts and cold butts, as a handful of brave souls take a seat on a chair made of ice and shed their clothes to help raise money for Special Olympians.

The third annual Ice Sit will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and will feature an assortment of ice sitters – celebrity and otherwise – who will strip down in the name of charity (not a stripper named Charity) to raise money for the Concord’s Coolest Special Olympics Penguin Plunge team.

How chilly the participants get is entirely up to you – clothing is removed based on donations from the crowd, which will be egged on by the MC stylings of hosts Eric Reingold and Lucas Gallo.

“It’s all about the money for our local Special Olympians,” Kim Murdoch, director of Murdoch Social Capital and organizer of the event, said. “We do whatever it takes. The audience has always been very generous, and will typically trade cash or a credit card donation in exchange for a specific item of clothing. It’s fun and freewheeling and it takes some unexpected twists and turns. We’ll do anything decent in order to raise the most amount of money.”

Those unexpected twists sometimes include Cpl. Paul Montray of the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Office removing his shirt to reveal a coconut bra, as he did last year (that is unexpected, right? We don’t hang out with Montray on a regular basis). Montray is returning as a veteran ice sitter this year, but he’ll be joined by former professional basketball player and Concord celebrity Luke Bonner, who is making his first appearance and at 7-1 will be the tallest person ever to occupy the frigid seat.

Other confirmed ice sitters include WKXL’s Chris Ryan, Mike Cashion of Villari’s Self Defense, Jessica Fogg of JFogg Social Inspirations, Kaleena Guzman of KAGEM Chic and HR Partner’s Tonya Rochette, board president of Intown Concord. A handful of others are “95 percent” sure they will be joining the fray, and there may be a few surprises, Murdoch said, though she wouldn’t offer any more juicy details just yet.

This would be a fine time to mention the rules of the evening, and if there were any they would appear right here. It is indeed a freewheeling event, as Murdoch hinted, with some patrons donating money for the sitters to remove clothing and others donating money for articles of clothing to go back on. Each sitter begins with a five-minute clock, though donations can also increase or decrease that time. In the spirit of teeth-chattering fun, though, Murdoch said it can take some impressive largesse for the MCs to relent and reduce somebody’s time.

“Standard time is about five minutes, but sometimes someone makes a generous donation and wants to see a friend stay a little longer,” Murdoch said. “We’ve even had people take pity and give a significant donation to get someone off earlier. It’s not at all uncommon for people to make donations to add time to the clock. That happens a lot more often than those kind souls who pay to get someone off early. That has to be a big donation.”

What the sitters wear is entirely up to them, and some have come covered in enough layers to make a lasagna jealous. Past participants have bundled up in as many as six or eight layers, as well as winter jackets, hats, scarves and mittens. Patrons donate to have the sitters remove each article of clothing, within reason – while the ice chair may slowly deteriorate over the course of the night, the event’s rating won’t dip below PG-13, she promised.

“People aren’t supposed to go anything below what you would see on a beach,” Murdoch said.

Winter accessories like hats and mittens usually draw modest donations, Murdoch said, with items like pants bringing in the big dough.

Donations are tax-deductible and can be made in cash or with a debit or credit card. Murdoch said many of the Special Olympians are often in the audience and also encouraged the more adventuresome attendees to bring a change of clothes, as a surprise appearance on the chair for an unsuspecting visitor is not uncommon.

It’s about as much fun as you can have combining stripping, the exchange of money and large blocks of ice without winding up in handcuffs.

“Bring some friends. It’s just one of those things, by the end of the night your face hurts because you are laughing so hard, and there’s always something unexpected. The athletes are right there, and they’re super excited. It’s such a good-natured group. It’s all in really good fun and for a fantastic cause.”

Keith Testa

Author: Keith Testa

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