ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Thousands of people clad in bathing trunks, bikinis and even some woolly winter hats have taken the Polar Bear Plunge into the Chesapeake Bay for charity.
The surging mass of bathers whooped and hollered as they dashed into the chill winter waters, monitored by safety divers in wetsuits just offshore at Sandy Point State Park in Maryland.
Click here to see photos from the event
Some participants spent mere seconds in the water, leaving behind sandals and floppy beach hats in the rush to get out just as fast as they got in. Some wore costumes, one like "Star Wars" character Darth Vader.
Saturday's was the 16th annual Polar Bear Plunge at the park, benefiting Special Olympics Maryland. Last year's plunge raised nearly $3 million, but there was no immediate word on the amount raised this year.
Locally, the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club will dive in with their 9th annual polar bear jump on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. Registration starts at 12:30 p.m. with a minimum $25 donation to participate.
The event, which takes place at Portage Lakes State Park at 5031 Manchester Rd., will benefit the American Cancer Society, Stewart's Caring Place Cancer Wellness Center and Camp Quality Ohio.
Click here to view a "jumper packet" if you would like to join in the event.