With ice out, Alexandria Polar Plunge fundraiser becomes a parade

There is still time to donate to help raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota.

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Two Special Olympic athletes from Alexandria – Tobby Klimek (left) and Torri Erickson – kicked off this year's Polar Plunge. The event, which celebrated its 15th year in Alexandria, took place Sunday, April 11. Erickson also had the honor of singing the National Anthem prior to jumping in the lake. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)

In its 14-year history, the Alexandria Polar Plunge has raised more than $906,000. And now, for its 15th year, it can add more than $66,000 more.

During the 2021 Polar Plunge, which took place Sunday, April 11, at Arrowwood Resort, along with the Cool School Plunge , that was held in March at Discovery Middle School, donations raised for Special Olympics Minnesota was more than $66,000, according to Alexandria Police Sgt. Keith Melrose, who organized Sunday’s Polar Plunge on Lake Darling.

The number of participants was down from last year thanks in part to COVID-19 and donations are significantly down, said Melrose. However, he thanked everyone who has donated and who participated in the events.


Sunday’s event was a little different than past years as there was no ice on the lake. Instead of jumping into the frigid water, plungers ran into the water from shore and had to reach the designated spot that was marked by a buoy.

According to the Alexandria Plunge page on the Polar Plunge website, the top two fundraising businesses are the Brenton Bobbers team with its $6,962 and the Douglas Dippers, which raised $6,831. The top individual, as of April 12, is Brian Piekarski from the Brenton Bobbers team with the $1,276 dollars he raised. The second highest was Kimberly Johanson with the MAD Plungers with $1,074.

Donations for the Polar Plunge are still being accepted and there is an added bonus for those who sign up for a virtual event or an in-person event between now and April 16. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union will automatically give people a $50 donation. This offer is available for the first 500 plungers who are registered before 11:59 p.m. on April 16.

Check out the Friday, April 16, Echo Press both in print and online for more photos from Sunday’s Polar Plunge. And go to the Echo Press Facebook page for more videos and live coverage from the event.

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Members of Team Brian ran back to the shore after taking a dip in the icy waters of Lake Darling during the Polar Plunge, which raises money for Special Olympics Minnesota. The event took place Sunday, April 11, at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)


Lucas Osborne of Alexandria, who participated in the Polar Plunge, was helped through the icy waters of Lake Darling by John Holm while Kevin Smith moved the buoy closer to him. Holm and Smith are members of the Douglas County Dive Rescue Team and were on-hand during the event, which took place Sunday, April 11, at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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