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Polar Bear Plunge this Saturday

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By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post

Local polar bears should expect a warmer-than-usual January temperature this Saturday as they take the plunge for a worthy cause.

Jimmy Floyd Family Center Aquatics Director Cindy Baker said that the 16th Annual Polar Bear Plunge, which begins at 9 a.m. at the center, should raise an estimated $3,000 to $4,000 for Wilson County Special Olympics.

We have averaged about $3,000 every plunge, and in 2012 the amount raised was over $4,000, she said. I got an email Monday morning and know that at least 20 people have registered online and we already have $1,000 in donations.

Prior to opening the Jimmy Floyd Family Center 12 years ago, Baker explained that the plunge took place in LaGuardo. These plunges are very popular. We do it in the pool here now, but several in the area do it in lakes, she said.

Three years ago, the center incorporated a Costume Contest into the annual event to add more fun and get some laughs.

Participants are invited to dress in a crazy costume. Those will be judged as they jump into the water, she said.

Money raised through the program goes directly to Wilson County Special Olympics. Following the Polar Bear Plunge, the Regional Swim Meet for the Special Olympics will be held in the Floyd Centers indoor pool area.

The cost to participate is the plunge is $10 per person. Participants who raise $30 or more in donations will receive a T-shirt. Registration begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday or plungers can pre-register online at specialolympicstn.org or simply pick up a form at the Floyd Center prior to the event.

About three years ago, we broke ice in the pool to let people go in. According to the forecast it will be cloudy on Saturday, but not cold. The low is 46 and the high is 70, Baker said.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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