MUSKEGON, Mich. — It's a popular thing to do in Michigan in the winter. Go out into the frigid air and jump into a freezing pool or lake. Polar Plunge season runs from the end of January until the middle of March. There are 30 of them in our state from the end of January until the middle of March.
The group, Law Enforcement Torch Run sponsors the plunges to raise money for Special Olympics Michigan. The LETR is made up of police and corrections officers.
The Muskegon Polar Plunge is one of the first on Jan. 25. Plungers meet at Fricano's and are taken by van to Muskegon Lake where they jump into a hole cut that's been cut into the ice. Many of them dress up in elaborate costumes for the plunge. They can win prizes for best costume, best plunge and highest fundraiser. So far 450 people have signed up to plunge this year, which is more than double from last year.
Todd Dunham is retired from the Muskegon County Sheriff's Department and is a co-chair of the Muskegon Polar Plunge. Dunham says, "Muskegon has one of the highest rates of return plungers. We've always catered to the plungers."
On Friday night Jan. 24 a "pre-plunge" party will be held at Fricano's. Participants can check in early and avoid the crowds on Saturday. Live entertainment is part of the party. On Saturday, registration and check in start at noon. The plunging begins at 2 p.m. Plungers who donate $75 or more get a special t-shirt. You can sign up right until the plunge starts.
The 29 other polar plunges are in communities all over the state. This year the Grand Rapids Polar Plunge will be at Fifth Third Ballpark on Feb. 1. You'll find the list and links to sign up on the Special Olympics Michigan website www.somi.org
More than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities find acceptance and inclusion through sport in our state. They are able to participate free of charge. The LETR raises more than a million dollars a year for Special Olympics Michigan.
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