WASILLA— The Mat-Su Polar Plunge takes place this Saturday at the Palmer Elks Lodge, with registration starting at 10 a.m. and local pledgers plunging into the frigid Finger Lake at 12 p.m.
“It’s a family event. Even if you don’t jump in the water it’s a great way to get outside and get your family outside. You can stand on the lake and social distance and still watch 50 to 100 people jump in the ice hole,” Mat-Su Sertoma Club Treasurer and Charter President Paula Nance said.
Plungers who created an online campaign and collected their target donation amounts before the day of the event will brave the icy waters in front of a cheering crowd with social distancing measures in place.
This is one of Mat-Su Sertoma’s largest fundraising events of the year. Nance said they’re hoping to raise $10,000 to $15,000 this year.
A majority of plungers wear costumes, either as an individual or as a group. It’s common to see coworkers, families and groups of friends pledge together and jump together. There’s awards for the best costumes and most money raised.
There’s even a Scaredy Cat and Golden Plunger award. Nance said that she spray paints toilet plungers with gold spray paint for the Golden Plunger award, and many winners have proudly shown them off in their homes. The award ceremony is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. the day of the event.
“We truly try and make it fun,” Nance said.
All proceeds from the donation campaigns and general donations will help the Mat-Su Sertoma Club provide two scholarships to local students with hearing impairments, as well as their ongoing efforts supporting the community and promoting hearing health throughout the year.
Mat Su Sertoma awards grants and scholarships to local hearing impaired students or those interested in pursuing a career in hearing health, and they offer free hearing screening to the public every year.
“All the funds that are raised stay right here in the Valley,” Nance said. “People come to us at a time of need… We’ve been here for a while,” Nance said. “We share the love with everybody… Everybody knows somebody with hearing loss.”
Those wishing to stay in their homes this year can still take a virtual plunge of $100 leading up to the event. Anyone interested in supporting the cause can also make a generous donation, or they can pick a pledge page and contribute a jumper’s goal.