‘Plungers’ gearing up to ‘Bear’ down

A student participant and a Special Olympics athlete head for dry land a warmth after taking the plunge at the 2014 Lewesw Polar Bear Plunge. (Sussex County Post/Glenn Rolfe).

A student participant and a Special Olympics athlete head for dry land a warmth after taking the plunge at the 2014 Lewesw Polar Bear Plunge. (Sussex County Post/Glenn Rolfe).

 

REHOBOTH BEACH – Rehoboth Beach this weekend will be bustling with fundraising activity – on land and in the water – with the 2015 Special Olympics Delaware Lewes Polar Bear Plunge.

At 1 p.m. this Sunday, thousands of Polar Bears will take the chilly dip into the Atlantic Ocean, raising money for Special Olympics Delaware’s year-round program of sports training, athletic competition and related programs for over 3,700 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Presented by Wawa, the Plunge has grown each year, beginning in 1992 when 78 plungers raised $7,000 to last year’s effort of 3,252 Bears raising more than $725,000.

Since its inception, the Plunge has raised more than $7.525 million.

“When we look back at where this event started in terms of number of participants and money raised, we are just in awe of the thousands of people over the 23 previous years who not only helped build this event to what it is today, but continue to support it like a family tradition,” said Jon Buzby, Special Olympics Delaware’s Director of Media Relations. “And for many it is a family tradition, and not just immediate family but extended, not just one generation but several. And those families have reached out to friends, who, in turn, have created their own plunge traditions.”

There is much more than the Sunday Plunge on tap this weekend.

Rehoboth Beach hosts a weekend-long Plunge Festival (Jan. 30-Feb. 1) that includes several Saturday activities: Pooch Parade (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.); Rehoboth Beach Convention Center activities (12 p.m. – 3 p.m.); 5k Run to the Plunge (1 p.m.); restaurant chili contest (3-5 p.m.); and ice-sculpting contest (10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.).

Restaurants and retailers throughout the Rehoboth Beach area have teamed up with Special Olympics Delaware to provide registered “Bears” with special discounts and activities throughout the weekend.

“Our polar bears continue to support this fabulous event year after year,” says Ann Grunert, Executive Director of Special Olympics Delaware. “And based on our increasing numbers each year, they also continue to recruit their friends to join them. This event truly is family-friendly, and the perfect way to give back to the community and support such a worthy cause.”

“The Plunge is for anyone, and you can’t say that about many fundraisers,” said Mr. Buzby. “And our big ‘push’ this last week is ‘It’s not too late to sign up – come down on Sunday and join the rest of the Bears!’”

More information on the Plunge and all weekend events can be found at www.plungeDE.org.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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