Warmer weather doesn’t mean warmer waters, so prepare to jump into freezing waters for a good cause at the Chicago Polar Plunge.
The 17th annual Chicago Polar Plunge, benefiting Special Olympics Chicago, gives fearless weather warriors the opportunity to dip their toes in the icy waters of Lake Michigan to benefit more than 6,000 athletes who compete in the Special Olympics programs. Last year’s temperatures were around 39 degrees when the first wave hit the water and this year temperatures are predicted to be 47 degrees. While warmer, that doesn’t mean it’ll be a regular day at the beach once the body touches Lake Michigan.
Last year’s plungers raised nearly $1.5 million and attracted more than 5,000 participants. In the past several years, the Chicago Polar Plunge has become one of the must-attend events of the year, with the participation of celebrities such as “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, actor Vince Vaughn, musician Lady Gaga, and the casts of “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD.” Former Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher will be serving Johnsonville brats to participants after they jump in the lake. Funds raised from the Chicago Polar Plunge helps to support the activities and events enjoyed year-round by the hard-working, dedicated athletes of Special Olympics Chicago.
If you’d like to participate you can register on the Special Olympics Chicago website. There is no registration fee, but you must raise a minimum of $200 to participate. Those who participate get free parking at the Lincoln Park Zoo, souvenir T-shirt and towel, photo downloads, and free food at the post-plunge Melt-Down Party.
The fun will kick off Sunday, March 5 at Castaways North Ave. Beach, 1603 N. Lakeshore Dr., at 10 a.m. when the first plungers enter the water. The following waves are at 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. For more information visit sochicago.org/polar-plunge.