The 2011 Pocono Polar Bear Plunge, slated for Sunday, Feb. 20, will kick off at 1 p.m., when the first participant will feel the invigorating cold water of Henning's Pond in Albrightsville.
This 10th annual event will benefit 5-year-old Jordyn Zajac who has a rare genetic disorder, Schwachman-Diamond Syndrone, with the net proceeds going to the Janet Weiss Children's Hospital in Jordyn's name.
Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome is a rare disease which mainly involves the pancreas, bone marrow and skeleton, but other organs may also be affected. Jordyn has a decreased ability to digest food because the cells of the pancreas, in which digestive enzymes are produced, do not work properly.
Organized by Bob Kasper, who proclaims himself as Mr. Polar Bear, the event has been the highlight of at least 60 plungers every year for the past nine years. Last year's event was the largest ever of spectators attending the event.
Participants vie for the titles of Ms. and Mr. Pococo Polar Bear by trying to top each other's outlandish costumes.
For information about registration, call Kasper at (570) 646-6600 or 1 (888) 727-2985 or Robert Christians Restaurant at (570) 646-0533. Preregistration is required by Feb. 14.
"This festive event is very exciting, yet may be dangerous to one's health," notes Kasper, who officially retired as a participant a few years ago. During the years that he dove into the water, he organized the event wearing a white terry cloth bathrobe and flip flops.
Every participant must sign a liability waiver and participants pay a fee for the privilege of jumping, which helps defray the cost of the event.
Snacks are provided for plunge enthusiasts during the warming-up gathering afterward at Robert Christians Restaurant where the participants meet for the braggadocio, beer and the royal crowning ceremony of Ms. and Mr. Pocono Polar Bear, which follows the event.