It's swim suit season in Minnesota.
Yes, bust out that swim suit and head down to Lake Minnetonka on Saturday, Jan. 28, to join in the fun in at the fifth annual Polar Plunge at Surfside Park in Mound. Festivities begin at noon.
“It’s such a great way to support an amazing cause and have an amazing experience with friends, family and/or colleagues at the same time,” Peter Mayer with the Special Olympics Minnesota, which organizes the Mound Polar Plunge, said. “It can be scary at first, but you get a real sense of accomplishment and will tell people about it for a long time.”
The Polar Plunge is the biggest fundraiser for Special Olympics Minnesota. All funds raised by plungers help Special Olympics Minnesota provide year-round training and services to thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities across the state.
The Lake Minnetonka-Mound Plunge has raised over $314,337 in its five-year history. In 2022, 202 Plungers raised $56,796.
Mayer said they are anticipating between 200 and 300 individuals and groups to participate in the 2023 Mound Polar Plunge. If interested in jumping in the frozen Lake Minnetonka waters, individuals or groups can sign up at http://www.plungemn.org/events/mound.
There is a $75 fundraising minimum to take the Plunge, but everyone receives their own fundraising page when they register, which makes it easy to send out to friends and family. The website also has some great resources on how to raise the most money you can.
Plunge timeslots open approximately three days before the in-person Plunge date. Any teams/individual participants not signed up by noon on the Friday before the Plunge will be automatically assigned a timeslot.
When you arrive at your Plunge, organizers ask that you, make your first stop the welcome area. This is where you will check-in and pick up your incentives. After that, make your way to the changing tent 15-30 minutes before your Plunge time. Then Plunge! After you Plunge, head back to the changing tent and get into some dry clothes, then share your accomplishments with your donors and friends on social media. Your fundraising page will be open through the end of the Plunge season to receive more donations.
“It’s an experience that words can’t quite describe,” Mayer said. “I would tell them that it’s something you just have to try. The biggest thing is to bring a towel and change of clothes.”
Participants can check-in on Friday, Jan. 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Surfside Park Depot, 2670 Commerce Blvd., in Mound; or starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the same location.
A free shuttle bus will be available starting at 11 a.m. for participants and spectators at the Mound Transit Station at 5515 Shoreline Drive in Mound and Auditors Road at 5519 Shoreline Dr. in Mound. Buses will run approximately every 10 minutes.
In case of really bad weather or the ice isn’t safe, the Polar Plunge will let everybody know in a timely manner.
“It’s not a true Polar Plunge without some polar-y weather,” Mayer said. “Joking aside, we always take the safety of our plungers very seriously, and would never put them in dangerous conditions. Every situation is different, so it is hard to predict exactly what the response would be without knowing the situation, but we would be sure to send out emails, social media posts, and engage with local leadership to get the word out there if we did have to alter or cancel due to weather.”