Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge returns! Crowd of 100,000, $2M raised
It’s not crazy — it's a beautiful thing!
On a frigid 32-degree Saturday in February, about 6,300 scantily clad human beings plunged into the 40-degree Atlantic Ocean to raise money for a great cause: the Special Olympics New Jersey.
Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge went virtual and still managed to raise more than $1 million. A great haul but half of what the Seaside Heights event can normally raise.
Heather Andersen, president and CEO of Special Olympics New Jersey, said the organization was hoping to come back stronger this year and it looks like they did.
This year, thanks to the participants and the support of law enforcement, the organization beat its goal of $1.8 million, raising more than $2 million.
Contributing to that incredible amount was a single check for $25,000 from the NJ State Policemen’s Benevolent Association. And let’s not forget all the additional money raised by the local PBAs across the state.
We also have to thank the Borough of Seaside Heights and its businesses for opening up and welcoming tens of thousands of visitors for this great event. Police Chief Tommy Boyd said an estimated 100,000 people showed up on short notice.
Special Olympics New Jersey provides more than 26,000 intellectually disabled child and adult athletes with programs, facilities, equipment and insurance all free of charge.
Out of every dollar raised, 85 cents goes directly toward activities and programs for the athletes.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be the voice of the plunge for 26 of the 29 years. This year, we broadcast our program right from the Boardwalk at the Spicy Cantina.
Take a look at these great photos from this year's event. See you next year!