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April fools planning local polar plunge

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 19th, 2011

• Organizers hope to raise $40K with Special Olympics fundraiser

There will be lots of April fools in downtown Brookings on April 1 and 2.

That’s when people with big hearts – and some might say a lack of common sense – will dive into a dumpster full of ice-cold water.

But it’s all for a good cause.

Brookings Police Sgt. Joel Perry says now is the time for volunteers and donors to pony up. The city’s 2011 Polar Plunge is less than three months away, and there’s work to do.

The second annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics South Dakota will be held in downtown Brookings on Saturday, April 2.

On Fourth Street in between Ray’s Corner and the Ram Pub, people who have raised at least $100 in pledges will be “Freezin’ for a Reason.” They plan to take a chilly jump into a construction dumpster filled with water.

Perry said the event also features a 24-hour Super Plunge, with Police Chief Jeff Miller, local Special Olympics coaches and two representatives from the state organization taking dips into the frigid water 24 times in 24 hours, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, April 1.

For those making just one jump, on-site registration will begin at noon April 2. Jumps start shortly thereafter, at about 1 p.m.

$100 minimum, but ...

Perry said that prospective jumpers must raise a minimum of $100 to participate. Anyone is welcome.

Super plungers are raising at least $2,500 apiece. But Miller has a goal of raising $5,000, and the local Special Olympics coaches have a goal of raising $10,000 collectively.

The easiest way to collect donations is by creating a fundraising page through the state Special Olympics Web site, www.sosd.org. Click on the “First Giving” link, the “Get Started” tab and then select “Brookings Polar Plunge.” Participants may also raise money through other means and bring it with them to registration.

Super Plungers have already set up accounts for online donations: www.firstgiving.com/jeffmiller5, www.firstgiving.com/sobc, and www.firstgiving.com/samanthahimley.

A heated tent will be available for participants to change and warm up after they’ve been in the water.

Costumes for jumpers are strongly recommended, and an award will be given at the event for the best one.

Participants will receive a long-sleeved Polar Plunge T-shirt at the end of the plunge.

For weenies

Perry said there’s also an option for those who want to help raise money but don’t have the guts to get in the water. They’ll be a part of the “Too Chicken To Plunge” fundraiser. Those who raise at least $100 and don’t take a dip will receive a “Too Chicken To Plunge” T-shirt. Collecting more than $100 is encouraged, and “Too Chicken” participants may raise funds with a First Giving webpage as well.

Perry encouraged everyone to come downtown and watch the action live on April 1 and 2, even if they’re not making a jump. Support is always appreciated, he says.

Entertainment is also being planned for throughout the two-day event.

Goal: $40,000

The overall fundraising goal is $40,000, and Perry said he hopes to see 100 or more jumpers participate.

That’s up dramatically from a year ago. The first event in 2010 raised $22,000 from about 40 jumpers. Half the money went to the local Special Olympics program, with the other half going to the state organization.

It’s used to support Special Olympics events held throughout the year, such as summer games, basketball, softball and bowling, equipment and uniform purchases, travel expenses, registration fees and more.

For more information, contact Chief Jeff Miller, Sgt. Joel Perry or Sgt. Brett Spencer at the Brookings Police Department, 692-2113.

Contact Jill Fier at jfier@brookingsregister.com.

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