2010 Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge

The 2010 Polar Bear Plunge is now history.

This year the Plunge was delayed for a week by a snowstorm. It had snowed enough the day and night before the plunge that it was prudent to call things off. The delay did not seem to cause any problems. There was record attendance on March 6, 2010.

Some clips from the news:

21,000 people came out to watch and participate in the 2010 Polar Bear Plunge... On the beach temperatures peaked in the high 40’s while the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean was a brisk 39 degrees.

The plunge... raised nearly $1,000,000 before onsite registration and cash donations were recorded today onsite.

"It's so cold," Servidio said, adding that he was persuaded to take part in the event by his friends. "This has been a lot of fun. I think that I will be doing it again."

For the plunge, some people dressed up in costumes ranging from Vikings to championship boxers. Kevin Cross, Lenny Kapelushnick and Roy Cacciola were sitting around Friday night, thinking of what they might wear for the event. "We were talking about it, and we decided to wear shirts and ties," Cross said. "Why not?"

The plunge has been a local staple of the offseason for almost two decades. The plunge for special Olympics was created 17 years ago, with 85 people participating that time. The event has continue to grow over the years, with people coming as far as Alaska to participate. Last year, about 3,700 people participated, helping to raise more than $900,000.

The horn sounded at 1 p.m., and off they went, shrieking, whooping and diving into the 38-degree waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Firefighters and police officers from all over Mercer County came to support the cause they've been championing for more than a decade, and friends Patrick Barnes, David Singleton and Bob Vosseller came, because well, why not?

They joined more than 4,000 other participants yesterday for the 17th Annual Law Enforcement Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, the largest single-day fundraiser for the Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ).

Last year, more than 3,700 rose to the challenge of leaping into the near-freezing ocean, raising more than $900,000 in the process. This year, organizers say they're looking to cross the $1 million mark. By Friday night, more than $918,000 had been raised.

The funds will go toward supporting the 21,000 Special Olympics athletes in New Jersey by providing free training and competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

"People want to give to the Special Olympics because it's a great cause and people give me money because they want to see pictures of me in the ocean," laughed Lawrence resident Sandie Thompson. She was participating in the plunge for the second year in a row and had raised more than $1,200 with the help of her team

The 18 annual Polar Bear Plunge will take place in Seaside Heights in February of 2011.

Stay tuned for more information. For now, here is what was announced for 2010.

There are expected to be over 4000 participants this year. All the participants register and contribute a minimum of $100 for the Special Olympics.

The plunge itself is pretty straightforward. Everyone runs into the water, gets all wet, and then runs out - because it is really cold! Most people wear their swimsuit or their regular "shorts and a t-shirt" swimming gear. A few brave souls wear a costume - and some that do so have been known to get real creative!

Some Details:
Participation - You must be registered
Location - centered at the Aztec at Boardwalk and Sherman Ave.
Check-in - from 9:00 through 12:30 AM
The Plunge - 1:00 pm
Lunch - 1:15 (if you go for a plunge you and one guest eat for free)

The point behind the plunge at Seaside Heights is to raise money for charity. Each participant pays at least $100 to participate and some, through being sponsored by others, contribute more. All proceeds go to the New Jersey Special Olympics. This event is so popular, the total contributions make a significant difference for this important organization.

The charity drive is part of the New Jersey Law Enforcement Carry the Torch program. They support the Special Olympics through the Polar Plunge and numerous other charity programs they run throughout the year. The law enforcement folks deserve a big hand for their efforts. They donate a lot of time and effort to make our NJ communities better places to live. And the Carry the Torch program is an extra effort by them - their full time job is of course keeping us all safe and protected in NJ.

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