WXXI AM News

Frigid Temperatures Won't Stop The Polar Plunge

Feb 13, 2016

Credit polarplunge.net

The high temperature on Sunday is expected to be only around 10 degrees with below zero wind chills again.

But the organizer of the annual Polar Plunge on Lake Ontario doesn’t think that will keep people away. In fact, Sam Gerbino  says it seems that the colder it is, the more people that turn out, and this Sunday he’s expecting more than two thousand people to show up at Ontario Beach Park.

He tells WXXI News you don’t even have to jump all the way into the water. 

“Whether they fully submerge, toe plunge or stood on the edge of the water and let the mist hit them, once they’ve raised their $60 pledge or donation for Special Olympics, they’re a “plunger” and they have those bragging rights.”

The water temperature in Lake Ontario is between 35 and 40 right now, but with that frigid air temperature on Sunday Gerbino says the ‘plungers’ need to limit their time being exposed to the elements.

Gerbino, a former longtime Gates Police Officer and now a part-time deputy has been involved in the event since it began 16 years ago.  It’s a fundraiser for Special Olympics and it’s a cause he is glad to be a part of.

“Once you go to a Special Olympics competition, and see the athletes, and interact with the athletes, I tell people it was a spontaneous hook, it just overwhelmed me with positive, good feeling.”

Gerbino is hoping the event can raise more than $350,000 for Special Olympics.

The event  is scheduled for Noon on Sunday. You can get more info at www.polarplungeny.org

The event is  part of a two-day Lakeside Winter Celebration at Ontario Beach Park. That activity runs from 1 to 6pm on Saturday, with events at the Port of Rochester Terminal Building.

City officials say despite the cold weather, Lakeside Winter Celebration indoor activities including the Lake Ontario Wine and Craft Beer Festival and Chilly Chili Challenge will continue as scheduled. Rec on the Move outdoor activities will be moved indoors.

Several outdoor activities, including the fireworks display, will be canceled due to extremely cold temperatures and sub-zero wind chills.