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Polar Plunge Comes To Bay City

February 5, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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After many years at Saginaw's Haithco Recreation Area, Special Olympics' annual Polar Plunge will come to Bay City in February. 28 Polar Plunges are scheduled to take place across Michigan this winter. While Haithco made sense for a while, it's time to bring the chilly event to Bay City!

The Plunge has always been a fun event. Participants (usually over one hundred) raise money in the community then gather on a frozen Michigan winter morning and proceed to the point of no return. Like lemmings holding their breath, one group after another bravely walks to the edge and willingly jumps into frigid water. (Are they CRAZY?)

For the Haithco event, plungers gathered at the Saginaw ISD Transitions Center, a large warm building with a gym sized meeting room. From there they were bussed from the lake at Haithco. They stood in a cold line waiting their turn to take the plunge then ran for the warming tent after which they were bussed back to the Center.

The Bay City Plunge will be different; it's scheduled to take place at the Dow Bay Area Family YMCA in downtown Bay City. Barb Gourd from Special Olympics said that the "Y" event will feature a large above ground pool of water outside. Plungers will meet inside for the pre-event before taking the plunge. There will not only be a warm place to go after the big freeze, but there will be hot showers too. And no long, cold bus ride back.

The Polar Plunge series is known as much for its brave participants as it is for the crazy costumes they wear. Most of the plungers come in groups and dress in a theme. Some expose their skin while others bundle up in outrageous outfits.

The event is, of course, a fundraiser. Participants raise money from friends, family, neighbors and co-workers; anyone who wants a good laugh and an opportunity to inflict a little punishment.

Money raised by the event goes to providing free sports training, competition and health screenings for nearly 21,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Michigan.

The annual Michigan Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Polar Plunge is the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI), raising more than $1 million dollars each year.

  • Dow Bay Area Family YMCA
  • 225 Washington Ave - downtown.

  • February 27, 2016

  • Registration on the day of the event begins at 10:30 a.m.
  • The parade of costumes begins at 11:30 a.m.
  • Plunge at noon.
  • Awards and After Splash Bash begins immediately following the plunge.

    Online registration for the 2016 Bay City Polar Plunge is open now at

    A complete list of plunges can be found at

    About Special Olympics Michigan Special Olympics Michigan Inc. (SOMI) provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for 20,797 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Athletes build physical fitness, develop self-confidence and prepare for participation in society. SOMI is a non-profit organization supported almost entirely by corporate and individual gifts, and events. The generosity of Michigan organizations, individuals, and statewide businesses enable the program to continue.

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    Stephen Kent

    Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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