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Annual dip into Lake St. Louise raises funds for Special Olympians

The Lake St. Louis, O’Fallon, St. Charles County, and Wentzville police departments are dispatching a call for all Polar Bears: “Hibernation is over!”

Lake Saint Louis Polar Plunge
Lake Saint Louis Polar Plunge in 2020 (Source: Special Olympics Missouri)

The 18th Annual Polar Plunge will be held on Feb. 6 at the Lake Saint Louis Community Association’s Lake St. Louise (100 Cognac Court).The theme this year is centered on Jurrasic Park. Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be awarded for costumes and top fundraisers in several categories. All proceeds from the event benefit the individuals with intellectual disabilities served by Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO). 

Staggered start times or Jurassic Waves will be assigned to each plunger or plunge team, with the first Wave set to begin at 10 a.m. Each Jurassic Wave will have a maximum of 50 people to promote social distancing throughout the event. Prior to the day of the Polar Plunge, SOMO will assign each plunger a 30- to 45-minute time frame for their plunge. Within that time frame, or Jurassic Wave, plungers will register, participate in the costume contest, plunge, change clothes and exit the changing area to leave the event. 

This year’s goal is to have 380 plungers and $90,000 raised. The Polar Plunge is open to anyone 10 years or older who is a fan of having a good time for a good cause. 

Precautions will be in place to ensure a safe in-person event, including social distancing, sanitizing stations and mask requirements. Due to COVID-19, a Post Plunge Party will not be held this year.

A Virtual Plunge option also  is being offered this year to give people an opportunity to plunge from the comfort of their own home. However, being uncomfortable – and silly – at least for a few minutes is the whole concept behind the plunge. Virtual plungers are encouraged to get into the spirit of the event by jumping into a kiddie pool, taking an ice cold shower in costume, running through a sprinkler, or taking a plunge of their own creation. Then, share a video and/or photos on social media, using the hashtags  #lakesaintlouispolarplunge and #SOMO. 

Each participant is required to raise a minimum $75 to participate in the Polar Plunge. 

All plunging Polar Bears will receive an official Polar Plunge commemorative shirt. Participants can also receive incentives for reaching fundraising goals. Plungers who reach the $250 level will receive a Polar Plunge towel. At the $500 level, they will receive a backpack. At the $1,000 level, they will receive a Columbia jacket and at the $2,000 level, they will receive a $150 Visa gift card.

Event day registrations are welcome and will be added to Jurassic Waves in a way that is safe for all participants. However, the easiest and most efficient way to register and raise funds is online. Simply go to 2021 Polar Plunge Lake Saint Louis – Special Olympics Missouri (somo.org), sign up and email  friends and family to support your plunge. Paper registration forms are also available at the SOMO St. Louis Area Office, 2945 S. Brentwood Blvd., in St. Louis. Questions can be directed to Stacey Koeller, SOMO director of development at (314) 961-7755 or via email to koeller@somo.org. 

Plungers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, exposed to COVID-19 in the 10 days prior to the Polar Plunge, or who are experiencing fever, cough, loss of taste/smell or shortness of breath, should stay at home and participate in the virtual plunge when they feel better.

Those who wish to donate only can do so by visiting somo.org. 

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