Polar Plunge to aid Special Olympics

There are plungers, chickens and spectators – and all are welcome at the annual Fort Dodge Polar Plunge on Nov. 3.

The local Polar Plunge is an annual fundraiser, held at Badger Lake at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, that benefits Special Olympic Iowa.

Teams can be made up of plungers – those who jump into the cold lake waters – or chickens – people who want to help raise money but won’t or can’t jump in – or a combination of both, said Jeremey Moore, a member of the planning committee for the event.

Moore, who has participated for the past three years, said he intends to brave the waters – “It’s not as bad as you think” – but he added, “Our team will have a couple of chickens.”

Teams are already signing up online, he said, and registrations will be accepted right up to the day of the event. If someone wants to participate but isn’t a member of a team, he or she can be placed on a team the day of the Plunge.

Plungers who raise a minimum of $75 will receive an official Polar Plunge long-sleeved T-shirt and admission to the post-Plunge party. The more money a plunger raises, the more prizes he or she receives.

Special prizes will be given to the plunger who raises the most money, the team with the best costumes and the plunger with the best costume, according to the SOIA event coordinator, Lindsay Eastin.

Costumes, Moore said, help people get into the spirit.

“It’s supposed to be a good time. Anything you can do to bring awareness to the Special Olympics is a good thing, and that includes crazy costumes,” he said.

In recent years, teams have come in attire ranging from zombies and pigs to Sesame Street characters.

Spectators, Moore said, are more than welcome.

“I think the more people we get to come out, the better,” he said. “It’s a great cause, and we’d like to see a lot of spectators.”

The Fort Dodge Polar Plunge will begin at 1 p.m. Registration is from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Those who want to register online and begin raising money can visit www.firstgiving.com/soiowa.

Special Olympics Iowa provides sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in all 99 counties of Iowa.