Cold and desolate during the winter, Chippewa Lake will soon be filled with hundreds of people who take an icy plunge in the ninth annual Polar Bear Jump and 5K Run/Walk.
The event is sponsored by the Chippewa Lake Lions Club, with onsite registration beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. The 5K run/walk is scheduled to begin at noon with the lake jump following at 1:15 p.m.
An entry fee of $30 qualifies participants for both events.
“A little over two-thirds of the people that run also jump, so they get a little double-play for their money,” event chairman Alan Robbins said Wednesday.
Individuals planning to participate in the jump are welcome to wear a fun costume of their choice.
“They are hilarious and they really put a lot of effort into them,” Robbins said with a laugh.
Past examples of costumes included Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Cleveland Indians and Mary Poppins, Robbins said.
“There have been people that renewed their vows in front of the jump,” Robbins added.
Robbins said the Lions Club has raised roughly $20,000 each year for the past two years, and that is what the group would like to do this year.
“We appreciate all the participation that is out there and if we fall short we are delighted to do what we do and raise money for the needy in our community,” Robbins said.
“We are very proud of what we do for the community and how that money stays locally and how it is put into play that is to a benefit.”
Funds in previous years have benefitted the Society for Handicapped Citizens of Medina County, the Crosse Point Community Church Meal Program in Chippewa Lake, the Lafayette Township Fire Department, the Chippewa Church on the Lake United Methodist Church Food Pantry and the Lions Club.
While registration is set at $30, participants are encouraged to have businesses, family and friends sponsor them.
Robbins said there will be special recognition for the top earners during the event.
“This is a fundraising event, so we really like to recognize the people that raise the most dollars so we have what we call a ‘Quest for the Best’ (competition) and that is the first, second and third place,” he said.
Robbins said organizers are hopeful for some good, icy cold weather for the event.
“We have to have 6 or 7 inches of ice to really safely walk on,” he said.
In the event that there is no ice or the ice is not thick enough to safely walk on, floating docks will be used, which can make event logistics more difficult for volunteers, Robbins said.
“In the eight years that we have held it, we have had five years with ice and three years without ice,” he said. “We certainly appreciate ice in a very big way because it is a fun event and it makes it easier for all of us volunteers to put it all together safely.”
There will be an after-party immediately following the event at the Village Inn, 5875 Longacre Lane, Chippewa Lake, where participants are invited to warm up.
Preregistration is available at www.chippewalakelions.com.