The temperatures are down, but the tents are up as final preparations are being made for Maryland’s largest and most unusual outdoor winter events set to occur this Friday and Saturday at Sandy Point State Park.
The 18th Annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics will be the main event of 2014 Plungefest this weekend, as thousands of warm-hearted people brave the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Their “plunges” will raise money to support year-round sports training and competition provided free to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Governor Martin O’Malley is set to complete a perfect record of plunging every year since he has been in office. He will be joined by Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus Brown, Natural Resources Police Superintendent Colonel George Johnson, Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, and many others as they take a quick dip in the Bay for a great cause.
Plungefest Weekend began this morning as more than 40 Super Plungers began their quest to plunge once an hour for 24 hours. At noon noon, more than 400 police officers hit the beach in the Police Plunge. This afternoon, polar bears from multiple area businesses will participate in the Corporate Plunge.
Sandy Point State Park will open at 8:00 a.m. Saturday to begin welcoming the more than 10,000 who are expected to plunge in the main events, along with their families, friends and a lot of spectators. A kid’s plunge will be held on the beach at 11:00 a.m. The MSP Polar Bear Plunge will occur at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Those interested in registering to plunge, sponsoring a plunger, or learning more about the events are urged to visit www.plungemd.com. Potential plungers can also register on-site the day of the plunge. Plungers are asked to raise a minimum of $75 for Special Olympics. They will receive an official Plunge sweatshirt, will qualify for other great prizes, and will know they have helped thousands of Marylanders with intellectual disabilities realize their full potential.
Plungefest is free and open to the public. The Carnival Funfest tent will be filled with a 40-ton sand sculpture, along with vendors selling food and other products. The Rams Head Live tent will feature live music all day long. The 98Rock Hot Spot tent will also have music and an assortment of vendors. There will be a variety of other sights to see and locations to visit throughout the Plungefest venue.
Plungers and spectators are urged to use the free Polar Express shuttle service, which is available at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Anne Arundel Community College, and Kent Island High School. There will be no general parking at Sandy Point. All those parking at the park must have a pass issued by Special Olympics.
Alcohol is not permitted in the venue except in three specific areas. Security will be in place to ensure the alcohol restrictions are adhered to. Plungefest is hosted by the Maryland Park Service. All visiting the park are urged to respect the venue and help preserve the park by obeying all rules and respecting this great natural resource.
Plungefest is produced by Special Olympics Maryland with assistance from a team of law enforcement agencies, business sponsors, and committed citizens. The event is part of the Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run, which coordinates year-round events to support Special Olympics. Special Olympics is the adopted charity of law enforcement worldwide. Law Enforcement Torch Run programs exist and support Special Olympics in all 50 states and 45 foreign countries.