2019 Alexandria Polar Plunge raises over $50,000

Although blizzard-like conditions caused last Sunday's Polar Plunge to be canceled for this year, pledges collected for the event will still benefit Special Olympics just as if jumpers had actually jumped into the frozen lake.

Organizers and Polar Plunge supporters, each wearing shirts from different year’s events, pretend to jump in the pool at Arrowwood Resort Sunday. Pictured are (left to right) Keith Melrose, Randy Jansen, Darcie Zirbes , Beth Melrose, Ryan Cook, Jackie Skoglund, Chris Zirbes and Kevin Guenther. (Jennifer Guenther Photography)

Organizers and Polar Plunge supporters, each wearing shirts from different year’s events, pretend to jump in the pool at Arrowwood Resort Sunday. Pictured are (left to right) Keith Melrose, Randy Jansen, Darcie Zirbes , Beth Melrose, Ryan Cook, Jackie Skoglund, Chris Zirbes and Kevin Guenther. (Jennifer Guenther Photography)

Polar Plunge registration volunteers pose for a picture at Arrowwood Resort Sunday. Pictured are (left to right) Melisa Schueler, Michelle Snitker, Carmen Groettum, Morgan Hinzmann, Darcie Zirbes, Mary Hinzmann, Lori West, Tyler Heinz and Kathy Michaels. (Jennifer Guenther Photography)

Polar Plunge registration volunteers pose for a picture at Arrowwood Resort Sunday. Pictured are (left to right) Melisa Schueler, Michelle Snitker, Carmen Groettum, Morgan Hinzmann, Darcie Zirbes, Mary Hinzmann, Lori West, Tyler Heinz and Kathy Michaels. (Jennifer Guenther Photography)

"The only difference is that we didn't cut a hole in the lake and jump in," said plunge coordinator Keith Melrose.

As of Sunday, he said the event had raised about $52,000, which is a decrease from what the event usually brings in. However, he didn't attribute that drop to the weather. Instead, it was the addition of another event that also benefited the Special Olympics.

When combined with the $29,000 raised by the Cool School Plunge at Discovery Middle School in January, the total amount for Special Olympics would be about $80,000. Melrose said that the total will probably go up as people continue to make contributions.

For safety reasons, organizers decided to cancel the plunge on Sunday morning. Part of the concern was trying to keep tents and other equipment from breaking loose of the ice in the strong winds, Melrose explained. Howling winds were consistently in the 20-30 mph range, and Alexandria registered a peak gust of 51 mph Sunday.

In addition, Melrose noted that some people would have been traveling from more distant locations in risky conditions. The strong winds created considerable drifting on roads. 

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