With the water temperature in Virginia Beach a chilly 48.6 degrees today, my thoughts are turning to the 19th Annual Polar Plunge, which is fast approaching. The Polar Plunge Winter Festival will be held on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4 and 5th at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
For those not familiar with the Polar Plunge, it is when thousands of people dress up and run into the icy waters of Virginia Beach and back out again. It is the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics Virginia. All plungers must have a minimum of $100 in donations to participate. People form teams to help raise money and many have web pages to make donating easy. Last year, more than 2,600 plungers endured sleet and snow to raise more than $900,000.
Customer Magnetism is doing something special this year to support the cause. Aside from having employees plunging or attending the event as supporters, our agency is making a special donation in honor of Jonathan Parker. Jonathan is 22 years old and has Down Syndrome. He participates in Special Olympics. He and his family have been long-time supporters and participants of the Polar Plunge and have formed a team. The Parkers’ goal is to raise $15,000.
To help the Parkers reach their goal, Customer Magnetism will donate a portion of all January sales to Special Olympics through Team Jonathan. If the family reaches its fundraising goal, all of Jonathan’s family members have pledged to get back in line to plunge a second time, with older brother Matt planning a full submersion in the icy cold water. If you would like to help support the Parker team, visit TeamJonathan.org.
In its 19th year, the Polar Plunge has grown tremendously. What started out as a small group of adventurous people shivering in the sand has transformed into a weekend of fun, entertainment and enthusiasm, all in the name of Special Olympics. Aside from the Plunge itself, the Winter Festival now includes a Friday Night Plunge Party, costume contest and Pee Wee Plunge for Kids. New this year are a 5K run on Saturday morning and the Cool School Challenge on Friday, when school groups to plunge together.
The Polar Plunge itself will be held on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. between 6th and 9th Streets. The festival grounds open at 10 a.m. Visit the Special Olympics Virginia Polar Plunge website for a complete schedule of events.
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