Good thing Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter because Tonka will need the ice cover through at least the first week in March. Delayed from the usual January date but not canceled, the third Lake Minnetonka Polar Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Minnesota is scheduled for 12 p.m. Saturday, March 6 at Surfside Beach in Mound.
The event drew 175 plungers who committed $39,000 to the cause last year. Organizers set this year’s goal to a conservative $25,000 in light of both the economic impact COVID-19 has had on families as well as what organizers said they are expecting to be a lower turnout this year.
Special Olympics Minnesota partners with local law enforcement and community leaders in hosting its plunges—31 of them in Minnesota, plus a virtual plunge this year. In Mound that organizational effort is borne by Orono Police, Westonka Community & Commerce, Mound Fire Department, Surfside Bar & Grill and the Mound-Westonka Rotary Club.
Chris Fischer, vice president of Westonka Community & Commerce and deputy chief of police with Orono PD, said that the energy of the event and the importance of the cause behind it makes braving the cold each year more than worthwhile. “When you go there and see the energy…it’s a ton of fun!” he said.
This year’s event comes with a few changes: plungers are limited to jumping either singly or by twos, and although two changing tents will still be set up for the plungers, the Depot at Surfside will be closed.
And no spectators will be allowed at the plunge this year. Molly Egan, coordinator with Special Olympics Minnesota, said they were going to try setting up a live stream of the plunge but no guarantees on that could be made before this article went to press.
Registration is online at https://www.plungemn.org/events/mound. Same-day registration at one of the tents at Surfside is also an option (don’t forget your tutu, flippers or other preferred costuming).
Not keen on the ice bath treatment? You can still make donations online. As of press time Tuesday, Feb. 9 a total of 86 plungers had donated $8,574 toward that $25,000 goal with St. Louis Park Police leading the pack for law enforcement at $3,976 followed by a dedicated individual contributing $1,536.