People dressed as pirates, superheroes, princesses and Santa Claus turned out for a dip into the icy waters of Lake Michigan Saturday for the Polar Plunge, an event sponsored by the Illinois Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run.
Participants, who each raised $75 in donations to the Special Olympics, jumped into a shallow pool dug out of Evanston’s North Beach, then quickly scampered off to warm themselves in a nearby heated tent.
“It’s awesome, and a little nerve-wracking,” said Kayleigh Wettstein, a SESP senior and the co-chair of Northwestern’s Special Olympics chapter. “But this is a great turnout.”
The Polar Plunge served as a kickoff for the Special Olympics fundraising season, said Barbara DiGuido, Director of Communications and Media Relations.
The 1 p.m. plunge into Lake Michigan was also the culmination of the Super Plunge, an event in which 27 participants-mostly “law enforcement guys,” DiGuido said-jumped in the lake 24 times in 24 hours.
For the Super Plunge, each participant was asked to raise at least $2,500 in donations.