21st Annual Polar Plunge Returns To Lake Superior

DULUTH, Minn. — Its freezing, its cloudy, its windy.. What better day to jump into Lake Superior?

“Jumping in the lake is not as bad as you think it’s going to be, the water temperature is warmer than the air temperature,” Matt Andrews, Polar Plunger, City Of Duluth Employee said.

For 21 years Duluth has held the Polar Plunge to benefit special Olympics Minnesota, and so far, they have been able to raise around $2.5 million dollars.

“We’re out here today raising money for special Olympics Minnesota, law enforcement officers across the state are the number one fundraising organizers for special Olympics, we love coming out here,” Ryan Temple, Investigator, Duluth Police Department and Organizer of the Polar Plunge said.

The second highest fundraisers this year were from Duluth’s TKE fraternity. They raised $2,500 more dollars this year, than last.

“It’s really fun, this experience was a lot better than last year when you had to run in to the water when there was no ice but we shattered our chapters record, we raised $11,000 dollars, I thought that was really cool,” Hunter Vickery, UMD Student, TKE Vice President said.

The A’bra-cadavers’, made up of members from the city of Duluth and Essentia Health also raised more than $1,000 dollars for Special Olympics.

“Yeah it really makes you feel like a Duluthian to come out to something like this, people from all walks of life are here, team members from all sorts of businesses, friends, families, everyone getting together, its really kind of a cool Duluth thing and I’m really glad they have special Olympics polar plunge here in Duluth,” Andrews said.

About 550 plungers made this year’s event bigger than last year’s, and maybe not as bad as you’d expect.

“The initial jump into the water wasn’t that bad for me, but the run back to the tent was terrible,” Austin Melton, UMD Student and TKE Member said.

And there’s no wet-suits for this dive. Fun and colorful outfits make the water a bit more bearable.

“It’s great, every year we have new costumes we haven’t seen before, we have guys in speedos, we have bikinis, we have everything I mean it’s a lot of awesome costumes out here,” Temple said.

But at the end of the day, it’s serving a good cause, that warms the heart back up.

“I just had to think about why I was doing it,” Vickery said, “I have an uncle with special needs, so Special Olympics means a lot to me, and I take that to heart so that jump meant a lot and it was really worth it”.

This year’s polar plunge raised close to $140,000 dollars.

There are 23 other locations through the state of Minnesota, where people take the plunge from January to May.

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