The Polar Plunge is to be held on Sunday at Chicago’ Lake Michigan shoreline with talk show host Jimmy Fallon and Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel participating in the event. According to organizers of the Polar Plunge, there are a record number of participants this year, as reported by the Chicago Tribune on Friday.
The Polar Plunge event, which is an annual Special Olympics fundraiser, had more than 3,000 persons signed up to take the freezing-water dip as of Friday, according to Jen Kramer who is the president of the Special Olympics Chicago organization. Last year, some 2,300 people participated.
Persons may sign up as late as Sunday by registering right at the event.
The spike in this year’s participation had much to do, no doubt, with the banter between Mayor Emanuel and Fallon regarding the event in recent weeks. Kramer said that there was a small bump in the numbers when Emanuel committed to the event, but the numbers skyrocketed when Fallon said he would be involved as well.
Last year, Emanuel promised he would participate if Chicago children read more than 2 million library books. They did. Emanuel says he will be in the water, out of the water, and dry off. After all, it’s forecast to be 32 degrees on Sunday.
As far as Fallon’s attendance, Emanuel said he would appear on Fallon’s television show if Fallon would join him in the Polar Plunge – and Fallon agreed to the offer. Talking about the event, Fallon said he will be “Swimmy Fallon” for the festivities.
Chicago Park District workers have cleared a slushy wading pool area out of the icy shoreline at North Avenue Beach for the participants to take their plunge.