A view from the front row doesn’t have to be indoors, even in the cold winter months. Sometimes, it’s quite a sight to see things from the water’s edge – including during January, when many brave, warmhearted people challenge frigid conditions to participate in various “Polar Plunges” for charity. If you’re not prepared to take the plunge yourself, perhaps you’d like to come out to watch the fun and cheer on those who do, and enjoy some of the festivities that are often planned afterwards.
One of the popular plunges in our area is sponsored by the Asbury Park Rotary Club, which holds the event each year to raise money to support Rotary Eye Rescue (providing corneal transplants for indigent patients, with every $2,000 raised giving sight to one person), other Rotary service projects such as scholarships and educational and recreational programs, and additional area charitable organizations.
Scheduled this year on Saturday, Jan. 26, the 11th Annual Rotary Polar Plunge – dubbed “Freezin’ for a Reason” – will take place on the beach by McLoone’s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Holiday Express, the volunteer organization founded 26 years ago by Tim McLoone. Holiday Express just completed another ambitious season of bringing 100 events from November 5 through Christmas Eve, visiting the neediest of groups throughout New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia to bring them food, music, gifts, funding, personal attention, and the gift of human kindness.
The plunge kicks off bright and early, with registration from 9:30 to 10:30 am. The plunge itself, with participants quickly racing into – and even more quickly racing out of – the wintry waters, goes from 11 to 11:28 am. Plungers and spectators alike are then invited to enjoy music and dancing with the talented Moroccan Sheepherders inside the Supper Club until 2 pm.
For those who register in advance, the fee to participate in the plunge is $25 per adult or $15 for age 18 and under. On the day of the event, registration is $35. The fees include a Polar Plunge shirt (if registered prior to Jan. 15), breakfast (coffee, tea, bagels, and muffins), one drink ticket (beer, wine, well drink, or soft drink), and admission to Plunge Party.
If you’d prefer to stay warm and dry while still lending support to the Rotary’s goal of raising $100,000, you can also sponsor a plunger. Additionally, there are corporate sponsorships available, at price points from $100 to $2,500 that include your company logo on the event t-shirt, plunge registrations or plunge party tickets, and other perks.
Tickets will be available at the door for all non-plungers for a $20 donation, which provides breakfast, one drink tickets, and admission to the Plunge Party – with a lovely venue and beautiful, front row views of the boardwalk and beachfront.
For information on how to participate, to support a plunger, or to just come and enjoy the after-party with the Moroccan Sheepherders, go to rotarypolarplunge.org.
(Photo credits: Kate Beckett and Russ Pangborn)