Plungers to take freezing dip into Canoe Creek to benefit Special Olympics Pennsylvania

Jan. 26—HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. — You'll be freezin' for a reason at this chilly event.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania will host its annual Winter Games Polar Plunge Saturday at Canoe Creek State Park in Hollidaysburg.

Registration will begin at 9 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. and the plunge at noon.

"The idea behind doing these polar plunges is to raise awareness and fundraise for our athletes," said Karly Heath, stewardship manager and law enforcement liaison for Special Olympics Pennsylvania. "By doing these polar plunges it provides revenue for them to be able to attend a lot of competition events that we do throughout the state as well as U.S. and world games."

At the opening ceremonies, event sponsors will offer a few words, followed by the lighting of the torch and a reciting of the Special Olympics athlete oath. Former Miss Pennsylvania Meghan Sinisi will serve as the event's emcee.

The plunge is open to participants of all ages and they have the option to plunge as an individual or as a school team.

"It's a really fun atmosphere," Heath said. "This year we have close to 200 taking the plunge and that number could go up because we always have day of registration."

Registration fee is $50 for plungers and for school teams, its $35 for each member.

All registrants will receive the Winter Games Polar Plunge 2023 T-shirt.

"This is a big party that we like to throw, and it's one of our unique ways to give back to our athletes who are the center of everything that we do," Heath said. "There's a lot of smiles and laughs, and everyone has great time. The athletes love it, and their smiles show you how appreciative they are. It means everything to them."

For those who are not ready to take the plunge, they can choose to register for the event as a "Too Chicken to Plunge" participant and take part in activities.

There is no fee for spectators to attend.

"We encourage people to come out and watch the fun, and we think it adds to our event having these people supporting those who are plunging," Heath said.

In Plunge Town, there will be entertainment, music and yard games provided by DJ Eric from Fireside Events, as well as informational tables.

Complimentary food and drinks will be provided by Sheetz.

Those unable to attend can participate as a virtual plunger and take the Polar Pop from their homes. Participants can pop a cold-water balloon over their head and share it on social media before plunge day with the hashtag #WGPLUNGE.

"We encourage everyone to get involved in any way that they feel comfortable," Heath said.

She said for those who attend the plunge, the hope is they'll experience the joy of what Special Olympics Pennsylvania does for its athletes.

"Everything we do goes back to our athletes and everything that's in their best interest," Heath said. "It's a fun, family atmosphere that we really hope people will see and they'll want to come back and be a part of it year after year."

For more information or to register online, visit