65 plunge into 'gooshy' gelatin pool Dessert revelers raise cash for charity


A summertime dilemma: What do you do with a great day, a somewhat baffled Fells Point crowd and more than 1,800 gallons of chilled raspberry gelatin?

Why, just dress up like a bunch of red table grapes, climb to the top of a 20-foot slide and hurl yourself right into the middle of the goopy stuff.

At least that's what Tanya Hybdzinski did yesterday.

"It's gooshy, real gooshy," said the 20-year-old Canton resident as she tried in vain to shower away chunks of the red Royal gelatin that, minutes earlier, covered her from head to toe.

"I loved it."

Ms. Hybdzinski wasn't alone, as more than 65 people -- among them bankers, lawyers, students, optometrists and sports celebrities -- plunged into the sticky, aromatic pool at the foot of Broadway in a fund-raiser for the Maryland chapter of the Leukemia Society of America.

To earn a ride into the gelatin pool, participants had to raise at least $200 -- and they came up with a total of $25,000 for the fight against leukemia yesterday, organizers said.

Gearing up for the gelatin splash was a weeklong affair. After all, filling a pool with the dessert to a depth of 3 feet takes more than ripping open a package of gelatin crystals and throwing them into a pan of boiling water.

Organizers met in Fells Point earlier in the week and mixed more than 300 cases of gelatin into 1,100 gallons of boiling water.

After the mixture set, about 30 Girl Scouts from Owings Mills and Reisterstown and 30 volunteers for the Leukemia Society scooped it into 32-gallon containers -- 50 of them, all then chilled in four refrigerated beer trucks parked along Broadway until noon yesterday when they were dumped, one by one, into the pool.

Plunging began about two hours later.

"That was the best feeling, a great feeling," said Jeff Yurfest. "It was awesome."

The 14-year-old dressed in a retro-1970s ruffled tuxedo shirt and served as a best man for his father, Leukemia Society board member Joe Yurfest.

The costumed bride for the mock-wedding party was Anita Gallo-Soeder.

Her white wedding dress -- actually an old bat mitzvah dress -- was decidedly pink after the trio hit the raspberry sauce.

Jeff Goldstein at least didn't have to worry about his clothes undergoing a quick color change.

"When you hit it, it's real cold," said the Owings Mills optometrist, who donned a red cape and red shorts. "You land, and you feel like you're floating on top. But don't try to walk in it. You can't move."

Mr. Goldstein's 11-year-old daughter, Jennifer, is this year's Maryland Leukemia Society poster child.

She was diagnosed with leukemia in October, and has undergone chemotherapy and other treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The disease is in remission, Mr. Goldstein said.

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