MARQUETTE - Many people will be taking the plunge March 15 at Marquette Mountain ... and they will be getting cold feet.
And cold everything else.
Because this plunge is not the marital sort, but rather a Polar Plunge, which raises money for Special Olympics of Michigan.
Clayton Hidding and Leah Bellus, of the 'NMU Hoodrats' team were the first two people to take the Polar Plunge at Marquette Mountain in 2013. (Journal file photo)
From left, Karen Wills, Dave Kangas and Nicole Dahl, of the Marquette Branch Prison, take the plunge as the 'Carp River Monsters' team at the Polar Plunge held at Marquette Mountain in 2013. (Journal file photo)
One of 30 annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunges taking place in Michigan this year, the Marquette Mountain event will feature a full afternoon/evening of fun for all ages.
"Registration starts at 1 p.m., the parade of costumes is at 2:15 and plunging is at 2:30," said Nicole Dahl, a local Polar Plunge organizer. "Then we have a post plunge party at about 3 or 3:30ish which includes food, awards, recognitions, 50/50 drawing etc."
The event wraps up at about 4 p.m., but that's not the end of activity that day.
2014 Polar Plunge
When: 1 p.m. March 15
Where: Marquette Mountain
How Much: No charge to watch; participants gather pledges
"Our Man Carries Woman contest is then at 5 p.m.," Dahl said. "Man carries woman, or visa versa, through a course on the hill and the pair with fastest time wins the woman's weight in prizes which are at this time unconfirmed."
The Polar Plunge event is known for its zany costumes and brave participants and the one in Marquette is no exception.
"It's easy to get caught up in excitement of actual plunge," Dahl said. "It's how I decided to do it after watching the event during my first year organizing. People arrive and get registered and change into last-minute costume details. The MC will cue the parade and announce plungers as we parade through the chalet. Plungers proceed out to fabricated 'pond' where they stand over the pond and jump in, a couple or few at a time - or solo.
"The crowd stands around and watches as plungers endure cold water and scramble for blankets handed out by bystanders who are often EMS," Dahl said. "Marquette City Police Dive Team members are in the water during plunge (for safety reasons).
"The costumes are creative and fun," she said. "We've had everything from crayons to superheroes, mermaids to cheerleaders and characterizations of phrases like 'static cling' or 'salt and pepper."
Dahl said there is a Best Costume award with the judges usually from some part of the law enforcement community.
It's not too late for people to get involved.
"People can sign up online at www.somi.org and follow the links to Marquette Polar Plunge or they can sign up the day of the event," Dahl said. "They can bring pledge money the day of event. Anyone raising at least $75 gets T-shirt, but we'll take less if they want to plunge."
Registration for the Man Carries Woman is $10.
But even those afraid to take the plunge can aid the cause, Dahl said.
"People can help by coming to post plunge party (which is free to plungers) and purchasing a meal," Dahl said. "Or they can buy T-shirts or 50/50 drawing tickets. Of course, cash donations are accepted. And spreading the word and getting people to plunge is great help!"
Plungers raise funds by collecting pledges from friends, family, co-workers and neighbors with proceeds from the Polar Plunge helping to support year-round sports training and athletic competition for more than 19,600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Michigan.
Sponsors of the March 15 Polar Plunge include Marquette Mountain, Starbucks, Midway Rental, the Marquette Police Department Dive Team, WLUC-TV6, Kix Country Radio and Buffalo Wild Wings.
For more information, visit somi.org.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.