SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 30, 2013

Hundreds are expected to take plunge Sunday

By Bethany Bray
STAFF WRITER

---- — Calling all brave souls: Dig out your bathing suit and head to the beach Sunday for an ocean dip to benefit two local nonprofits.

Polar plunges will occur simultaneously at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Lynch Park in Beverly and Winter Island in Salem. Both will raise money for the North Shore Community Development Coalition, a regional affordable-housing agency, and River House, a Beverly nonprofit that provides transitional shelter for the homeless.

The annual event draws hundreds of plungers and spectators, said Jackie Giordano, director of external affairs at North Shore CDC. Last year, 400 people participated in Beverly and Salem and raised $40,000.

“It’s very fun-filled,” Giordano said. “It’s a little chaotic, but in a good way.”

The event also has a little “friendly competition” between local public schools. Trophies are awarded — the “plunge cup” and “big splash award” — to schools that have the highest participation or collect the most pledge donations.

“It’s a good bonding experience for all the schools. We’ve even had principals plunge,” Giordano said. “... It’s a friendly competition that builds community spirit.”

The annual plunge began in Beverly in 2007; the Winter Island plunge in Salem was added in 2012.

This year’s event had close to 200 people registered to plunge as of yesterday. Online registration is open through Saturday; people can also register in person the day of the event.

Sign-in begins at 11 a.m. Sunday. After the plunge, everyone is invited to a celebration at Beverly High School with food, music and the trophy presentation.

Sunday’s weather forecast predicts temperatures in the mid-30s.

Bethany Bray can be reached at bbray@salemnews.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.

IF YOU GO

What: Polar plunge

To benefit: North Shore Community Development Coalition and River House shelter

When: Sunday, Feb. 3; sign-in opens at 11 a.m., plunge at 12:30 p.m.

Where: Woodbury Beach at Lynch Park in Beverly and Waikiki Beach on Winter Island in Salem

More information: www.polarplungenorthshore.org