Community, public agencies come out to raise over $140K for Special Olympics

Although most of the participants were rain-soaked long before they even reached the shoreline of Folsom Lake, the 2023 Polar Plunge was a huge success. Despite the dismal weather, the turnout raised over $104,000 for Special Olympics of Northern California. 

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Polar Plunge events take place annually in numerous cities this time of year to assist the Special Olympics in its mission to “encourage inclusion and change the way people treat individuals with intellectual disabilities.” This is the first year a 5K trail run was added to the Greater Sacramento area event which made it even more successful than before.

The trails were muddy and the water temperature of Folsom Lake was a brisk 50-degrees Saturday morning. However, that didn’t seem to daunt the hundreds who braved the rains to take part in a local tradition that benefits a great cause as they enjoyed a variety of fun games and activities prior to taking their epic chilly dip into Brown’s Ravine. 

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Participants in this year’s event ranged from individuals to large groups, or “corporate plungers,” which are large groups of co-workers of various area businesses who join the cause. As usual, the event drew a large amount of first-responders and law enforcement participants from Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado Counties. 

By Saturday morning, 1,311 donations had been made to Special Olympics in conjunction with the plunge. A total of 275 people had pre-registered along with 34 team entries. The event exceeded its goal of $100,000 this year as $104,085 was the tallied total of money raised by Saturday morning. 

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“This is such an amazing event each year to support such a great cause,” said attendee Robert Dickinson of Citrus Heights who has either attended or participated in the event each year. “To see all these people come out in the rain like this, including our local police, fire and media, that just speaks volumes for how much the community cares and supports Special Olympics.”

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Saturday’s event was far more than a quick dip in the chilly water. Activities began as early as 10 a.m. with the nearby 5k, along with a variety of celebrations and activities for participants. Activities included a traditional costume contest where entries decked themselves out in various super hero attire to support the theme of the event.  

Other activities included a sweet eats eating contest, a bean bag toss for youngster, face painting and a variety of vendor booths from local agencies and community businesses. Live music for event was presented by Bobby Dickson of the Cash Prophets and Unchained. 

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Following the dip in the lake, participants were treated to a lunch under a covered tent where they enjoyed socializing and sharing their views on just how cold the water was. 

Those who may have missed the opportunity to participate in the event can still donate to Special Olympics of Northern California. Visit their official website at www.sonc.org.

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Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan has over 25 years of professional journalism and content creation experience in which he has earned 37 professional awards. He is the co-founder/publisher of Folsom Times an All Town Media LLC product.