On one of the coldest days of the year so far, thousands of people traveled to Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis to sprint into the frigid water for the annual Polar Bear Plunge.
The event, sponsored by Maryland State Police, raises millions of dollars each year to support Special Olympics Maryland.
Now in its 27th year, the event continues to grow. As of Saturday afternoon, more than $3.4 million dollars had been raised already for the 2023 Plunge Fest.
Fundraising continues until March 4, said Kira Northrop, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for Special Olympics Maryland. The group’s goal is to hit $3.5 million by that deadline.
This year’s Plunge Fest started Thursday with the Cool Schools plunge, followed by the Police Plunge and Corporate Plunge Friday and ending with the Maryland Plunge on Saturday.
Over the course of those three days, 11,748 people plunged into the Chesapeake Bay, said Northrop.
Two familiar faces in the crowd of thousands Saturday included newly inaugurated Gov. Wes Moore, along with his Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller. They hopped in the water along with the first group of plungers at 11 a.m.
”We did it, we did it!” Moore shouted on his way out of the Bay with Miller before splashing himself in the face with another handful of salty ice-water.