Organizers are expecting over 7,000 people to participate in this year’s annual Polar Plunge in Seaside Heights on Saturday, one of the borough’s most popular events of the year that raises money for Special Olympics New Jersey.
The plunge draws tens of thousands of revelers accompanying the plungers and is heralded as the first big event of the year for businesses in the run-up to the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the impending spring.
At 1 p.m., all those who have raised the plunge minimum will make their way into the Atlantic, where the water temperature is expected to be in the mid 30s and the air temperature is forecasted to be a high of 42.
Many of the event participants have gone above and beyond the plunge minimum, and as of Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 20, the highest individual fundraiser is Scott Paterson, who has raised $24,762. The highest fundraising team is the Little Silver Crocs, led by team captain Mike Laverty, who have raised more than over $73,000 and still counting. Assuming the team continues their fundraising efforts at this pace, this will be the 16th year in a row that the Little Silver Crocs will earn the highest team fundraiser title.
The Seaside Plunge is organized by the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey, the largest grass-roots fundraising organization for Special Olympics New Jersey, supported by the state PBA and radio station New Jersey 101.5
If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late to take a mid-winter dip! Walk-up plunge registrants are welcome and encouraged to arrive early due to the heavy traffic. Registration opens at 9:00 am and the walk-up registration fee is $125. Spectators are also welcome, and parking will be available in the area. Wawa, the official coffee supplier of the Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside, will be onsite with their mobile truck to provide FREE coffee and hot chocolate.
As usual, the event comes with some traffic diversions. Grant Avenue will be closed from the Boulevard to the boardwalk. Ocean Terrace will be closed from Sherman to Sumner avenues, and traffic on either side of Ocean Terrace will have to exit the roadway before reaching the closure area. Traffic calming devices will be placed on Blaine Avenue.
Officials urged residents who live on the closed streets to park their cars on the Boulevard or surrounding streets that will not be closed to traffic.