|Friday, January 28, 2011 – Robert Lang and John Laur|
|The plunging has begun at Sandy Point State Park for the 2011 Plungefest, which includes the 15th annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge.
It is a fundraiser for Special Olympics of Maryland.
Anyone who raises $50 in pledges can participate in one of two plunges into the 30-degree water of the Chesapeake Bay. They are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Governor Martin O’Malley are among the participants in a VIP plunge at 2 p.m. Saturday.
CLICK HERE for a schedule of events.
Since 10 a.m. Friday, a group of “Super Plungers” have been jumping into the bay once an hour for 24 hours. Each “super plunger” raised $10,000.
“Super Plungers” include WBAL’s Stash, Jennifer Franciotti and former Oriole B.J. Surhoff.
Surhoff, whose son has autism, has participated in the Special Olympics. He says the marathon of the Super Plunge is a challenge.
“It’s really tougher to say no. Quite honestly, I really don’t look forward to doing it.It’s not something I’m clamoring to do, but when I leave on Saturday, I feel very good about having done it,” Surhoff told WBAL News.
CLICK HERE for a list of “Super Plungers.”
Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley has been involved in the event from the beginning.
“The first year we had about 350 people who gathered on the beach and ate cold chili, and jumped into the water, and we raised $74,000 that first year and we were amazed,” Shipley told WBAL News.
“To look at event last year where 25,000 people gathered on the beach, more than 12,000 of them jumped into the water on very snowy day, and raised over $3-million in one day for the Special Olympics athletes in Maryland, it is an amazing inexplicable event.”
There is no parking at Sandy Point State Park, where the gates open at 8 a.m..
Free shuttle buses are available from parking lots at Navy Marine Corps Stadium, Anne Arundel Community College and Kent Island High School.
For the first time, the event is alcohol free. Shipley said that in past years a number of people “who abused that opportunity” when alcohol was sold. He says organizers decided to ban alcohol for safety reasons.
Besides the plunges, there is a carnival tent with games and rides for the kids. There is also a Ram’s Head party tent, where D.J. Pauly D from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” will perform. There is also a spa tent and a skateboarding tent. Shipley says all of those tents are heated.
WBAL Radio is among the sponsors of the event.
Sportsline hosts Brett Hollander and Peter Schmuck are among the team from WBAL Radio who are plunging.
CLICK HEREto donate on behalf of the Sportsline team.
WBAL-TV and 98 Rock are also sponsors of the event.