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Annual 'Polar Bear Plunge' to take place next Saturday

Echo Press file photo Sarah and Eddie Reif of Alexandria who were married last July took the plunge as a bride and groom at last year's Polar Bear Plunge.

If you need a reason to be freezin' - other than this winter's temperatures - then plan on taking a plunge into the icy waters of Lake Darling next Saturday, February 27, to raise money for a special cause.

Local law enforcement will present the "Polar Bear Plunge," which raises money for Special Olympics Minnesota.

The statewide event is scheduled through March with a total of 13 plunges taking place in cities throughout Minnesota, including Willmar/Spicer, Rochester, St. Peter, Prior Lake, Duluth, St. Cloud, Alexandria, Brainerd and the Twin Cities area.

In Alexandria, the Polar Bear Plunge will take place next Saturday, February 27 on Lake Darling at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center.

The actual jump is set to start at 1 p.m., but registration will begin at 10 a.m.

There is a minimum donation of $75 per person to take the plunge.

Keith Melrose, an Alexandria police officer and local organizer of the event, noted that there are close to 30 teams with more than 150 brave souls who will be participating in this year's plunge.

New to this year's event is a pre-plunge party planned for Friday night, February 26 at Rafter's Lounge in Arrowwood. There will be door prizes and a costume contest, noted Melrose. The party will begin at 8 p.m.

"It will be a fun get together to gear up for the plunge," said Melrose. "We want people to come out in their costumes that they plan on wearing for the plunge. There will be prizes."

Last year in Alexandria, more than $26,000 was raised and about 150 jumpers took the plunge.

Melrose, who will be plunging twice this year and has jumped every year the event has been held in Alexandria, said, "I won't lie, it's exhilarating, but it's for such a good cause. That's why I do it every year."

For more information, visit the Special Olympics Minnesota website at