This year’s Winter Carnival will add an extra feature to its occasion by adding the Western Michigan Polar Plunge event to the festivities.
This is an event in which participants take a chilly dip in the freezing Goldsworth Valley Pond in front of friends, family and the community. The event will take place during the carnival this Saturday, Feb. 16, from 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.
The Polar Plunge is a nationwide fundraiser that raises money for Special Olympics events. Participants in the Polar Plunge are asked to raise $75 per person in order to plunge. Most of the money collected will stay in the Kalamazoo area by helping local Special Olympic athletes from the region.
“We are partnering with the Development and Alumni Relations office this year to be a part of the Winter Carnival,” said Molly Cahill, coordinator of the Western Michigan Polar Plunge.
For the last few years, the Polar Plunge was held in Lawson Arena. This year, Cahill decided to hold the event outside to go along with the Winter Carnival and have participants plunge into the freezing water of Goldsworth Valley Pond.
“This is the first time we will be hosting the plunge in Goldsworth Valley Pond in a few years,” said Cahill. “We’ve had a lot of feedback saying that they want it back at the pond, so that is what we are doing this year. In the past, participants have worn costumes to the event as well.”
Cahill said that invitations were sent to an estimated 10,000 people and included of alumni and community members. She hopes that there will be a big turn out this year and have the community come out and support their fundraiser for Special Olympics programs.
“The Plunge is for a great cause,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun, and people have always had a great time coming to the event.”