WARSAW — As the mercury languished at least four degrees below freezing Saturday, a group of brave ice water enthusiasts plunged into Warsaw’s Center Lake to help raise money for charity.
Several dozen registrants took part in the annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics and the fourth such event held in Warsaw. “It’s always fun,” said event organizer Buzz Lail, the Northwest Regional Manager for Special Olympics Indiana. “The number of plungers may be about what we’ve had before or maybe a little less, but we won’t know how much money we’ve raised right away.” Lail said that while pledges continue to come in, he expects the total amount raised to be in the neighborhood of $17,000.
According to Lail, 2018 is the 19th year for the Polar Plunge in Indiana and local sponsorships such as Depuy-Synthes and The Bowen Center were noted. “It’s a big deal to have this much support,” he said. “We get real nice local support. Participants were required to raise at least $50 for students and $75 for non-students. Participants dove into the frigid water as individuals and as teams. The father-daughter team of Jason Langhorn, dressed as a Smurf and Sydney Langhorn, a mermaid, won the best costume competition. Engaged couple Brian Lardino and his fiancé Jessica Moore were among the first to jump from the pier and into the water.
Members of the local Dive Team were in the water to offer support, which included cutting through the ice on Friday and removing any new layers of frozen water before the plunge. Lail said he was thrilled with the overall mood of the participants. Participants who quickly removed themselves from the icy lake water were greeted in the Center Lake Pavilion with toasty temperatures and and After Splash Bash.