The annual Seaside Heights Polar Plunge, an annual tradition that raises millions of dollars for Special Olympics New Jersey, will return to town after being canceled and moved to a virtual platform last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Seaside Heights officials received a request from the organizers of the event to hold the plunge just before gathering for a borough council meeting Wednesday. Mayor Anthony Vaz said Special Olympics New Jersey requested to hold the event on the borough’s oceanfront Feb. 26, 2022.
“They’re back!” an excited Vaz said. “We’re happy to have them, and hopefully the pandemic will not interrupt things again this year.”
The most recent plunge event, held in 2020 just before the pandemic arrived in the United States, raised $2.5 million, beating a previous record of $2.3 million raised in 2019. The Polar Plunge is also a major economic factor for boardwalk businesses, with just under 10,000 participants flocking to the boardwalk along with several times as many spectators looking on. Though solidly a “winter” institution, the plunge kicks off a number of important pre-season events in town, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Easter celebrations in the following months.
Registration and donation opportunities are already open at the plunge website, www.plungeseaside.org.