WILDWOOD, N.J. — The annual Polar Bear Plunge in Wildwood, NJ is a winter shore spectacle not to be missed. The plunge into the frigid Atlantic behind the scenic Wildwood Convention Center is only a small part of a day complete with costumes, before parties, after parties, food and fun that draws thousands of people and raises millions of dollars for the Special Olympics of NJ. In 2015 the Wildwood and Seaside Plunges raised over $3.25 million dollars, up from $2.8 million in 2014 . Here are some photos from the 9th annual 2015 Polar Plunge in Wildwood on January 17th.
Polar plunging for the vast majority of participants is a team affair. Lots of those teams will have great costumes like Smurfs, Ninja Turtles and a vast array of Super Heroes. Military, law enforcement, EMT and fire departments are always well represented groups in the Wildwood Polar Plunge. All in all over 1,000 plungers took a dip into the 39 degree water with sunny skies and a temperature of 27.
The Polar Bear Plunges are sponsored by the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey (LETR), the largest grass-roots fundraising organization for SONJ. ( Other big events for LETR include the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5k, Battle the Beach 5k, Liberty 5k, Dodgetoberfest, and of course the Torch Run). In addition to LETR, Wildwood High School’s Peer Leadership group supplies 30 volunteers.
Speaking of donations, the sea of blue smurfs in 2015 came courtesy of Cara Liom Mummers Wench Brigade. Like many years in the past, after they march in the Mummers Parade, the good folks at Cara Liom donate their mummers gear to the Polar Plunge.
The Special Olympics of New Jersey (SONJ) supports 24,000 athletes who train and compete in 24 Olympic-type sports throughout the year. The plunge is one of the many fundraising events that benefit these athletes, allowing them to train, compete and participate in our many programs completely free of charge. In 2014 SONJ hosted the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games that welcomed 3,500 athletes, 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and tens of thousands of spectators.