CHIPPEWA LAKE — Hundreds of cold-weather fans will gather Saturday for the annual freefall into near-freezing water — all for a good cause.
Registration for the third annual Polar Bear Run, Walk and Jump begins 10 a.m. Saturday near Chippewa Lake’s main dock area at Longacre Lane and Beachside Boulevard. The walk/run portion kicks off at noon, while water plunges are set to start at 1 p.m. Registration fee is $25.
We’re expecting quite a crowd this year for our third run, and are trying to get as many people out as possible,” said Mike Ross, president of the Chippewa Lake Lions Club, which sponsors the event.
Medina County Commissioner Adam Friedrick, who participated in 2011 and 2012, said he’s “looking forward to coming back for a third year and jumping and running.”
The event benefits the village’s Crosspointe Church Community meal program and Feeding Medina County Initiative, in addition to generating a few bucks for the Lions Club. Ross said about $8,000 was raised in 2012 through registration fees, donations and sponsorships.
Prior to the water plunge, participants can warm up to the idea of jumping in Chippewa Lake by running or walking two miles. Overall, 177 people took to the water last year, jumping off the lake’s beachside dock solo or with a group of friends and/or relatives, Ross said.
During the event’s first year, about 60 people participated in the jump, Ross said.
Saturday’s forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of snow and a daytime temperature near 23 with winds from the northwest at 10 to 14 mph.
Ross said a professional diver will be in the water for safety reasons and to assist jumpers.
In the past, some jumpers have worn hula skirts and others dressed up as Star Wars clones, members of the Grateful Dead, clowns and zoo animals.
Prizes will be awarded to groups and individuals donning the best costumes, Ross said.
He said facepainting for children will be available at the event and members of the Lafayette Township Fire Department also will serve hot chocolate to jumpers.
Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.