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Polar Plunge Returns to Raise Funds for Special Olympics

The coolest charity event around is back.

The Greater Cincinnati Polar Plunge is set for Saturday, Feb. 17 at Joe's Crab Shack in Bellevue.

For those who don't know, the event involves the raising of funds (a minimum of $75, or $50 for those under 18) by people who want to jump into the chilly cold water of a swimming pool set up in the parking lot.

The money helps the Special Olympics.

The actual Plunge is only part of the event, though. The day includes a costume contest as well as fun throughout the day for participants and spectators alike.

Anyone who wants to take the Plunge must sign up online at, create their own web page, and raise money through the official Polar Plunge Web site. Participants can register as individuals or gather a team of friends, family, or coworkers and register as a group.

All participants receive the official Polar Plunge T-shirt, but can earn additional prizes for raising more money. The top three overall fundraisers will have their names entered into a drawing to win a $1,000 travel voucher from AAA Travel.

Afraid of the cold water? Once again this year you can register as “Too Chicken to Plunge”, and raise money to support Special Olympics athletes just like the Polar Bears do. Those who choose this route receive a special Too Chicken to Plunge T-shirt instead of the Official Plunge shirt, but are eligible for all additional fundraising prizes based on the total raised.

There will be an early check-in for participants who want to avoid the lines on Plunge day. Early check-in will be held at Joe’s Crab Shack in Bellevue from 4-7 pm on Friday, Feb. 16, and will feature live music, activities and happy hour specials. Participants can turn in all money raised and gather fundraising awards prior to the event day.

Day-of-event registration for the Polar Plunge begins at 9 a.m. at Joe’s. Opening ceremonies, including the costume parade and costume contest, kick off at 11 a.m. and Plunging begins at approximately 11:30 a.m.

In addition to the costume contest, prizes will be awarded to the top fundraising university or school group, top fundraising law enforcement group, top fundraising corporate group and the top fundraising team.

Last year more than 600 people took the Plunge, raising more than $160,000 in its seventh year at Joe’s Crab Shack. This will be the 13th year that the Special Olympics programs in Kentucky and Ohio have combined to organize the event. The Plunge has raised more than $1.5 million in the last 12 years and in its 18-year history has raised more than $1.6 million for Special Olympics programs.

For more information about the Polar Plunge visit

​-Staff report