If you've been tuned in for awhile, you know, that Franklin has a whitewater recreational release, which prompts an influx of paddlers from New England to test their skill in the cold rapids of the Winnipesaukee River, to reconnect with friends after a long holiday season and it provides an opportunity for astounded onlookers to watch the "crazy people" and marvel over how cold they must be.
January 1, 2024 was the first time Mill City Park ever hosted the event. I had trepidation of taking on such an iconic event for the City of Franklin. However, the day was well received. I've never seen such a crowd in Trestle View Park. It was definitely, the most people I'd ever seen there, and perhaps more importantly, the positivity and vibrancy of the folks who came out was unparalleled. As were, the crowds at Vulgar Brewing Company and the Waterhorse Irish Pub! Both of which, we tried to get into after we finished cleaning up.
Mill City Park's Polar Plunge was a crowd favorite for sure and an activity you'll see again next year, but I like to think that the cultivation of the event over four decades has a lot to do with its success.
Yes, cultivation over decades. Ken Norton, thats right THE Ken Norton, local legend and activist, has the most complete telling of the story. For those interested read it on Facebook, here: A New Years Day History of Cold Whitewater in Franklin
Back to the idea of cultivation. Let's start with the meaning.
noun: cultivation; plural noun: cultivations1. the action of cultivating land, or the state of being cultivated.
Similar: growing, raising, rearing, farming, culture, planting, sowing, agriculture, agronomy, horticulture, husbandry, tillage
2. the process of trying to acquire or develop a quality or skill.
Similar: improvement, bettering, education, training, development
3. refinement and good education.Similar: culture, culturedness, education, erudition, learning, enlightenment
If you know me, you know I find it impossible to separate my personal and work life. Never mind, trying to find the elusive work life balance that friends and family tell me I need. My brain is still that of an engineer's, a problem seeker and a crafter of solutions. While my personality is stubborn, obsessive, optimistic and hard working. Whatever combination that creates drives and/or has driven me for eight years.
That's right. Eight years. Ouch. As my kid's say... That is a long time and yes apparently, I'm old (I'm not really sure how it happened, but it did).
At my family's New Years Eve dinner, we went around the table. Two people in my family have.