PORTAGE LAKES -- You might not be thinking about taking a swim, but there are plenty of people preparing to dive into frigid waters for charity.
The Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club has opened registration for their 10th annual polar bear plunge, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16.
The average high on that date? A bone-chilling 37 degrees.
All proceeds will benefit the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, with every dollar providing four meals. It costs a $25 minimum donation to register for the plunge. If you don't want to brave the teeth-chattering challenge, you can still donate to the charity as somebody who is self-admittedly "Too chicken to jump."
Registration, which you can do by CLICKING HERE, ends on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.
All registered participants should arrive for the jump by noon with the plunge splashing into action at 2 p.m. at the Portage Lakes State Park swim beach (5031 Manchester Rd. in Akron). Participants under 18 years old must have a parent/guardian present with identificationto sign a waiver.
To date, the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump has raised nearly $300,000 for various charities since it started in 2004. In 2012 alone,hundreds of brave jumpers raised more than $85,000.
Tips to prepare for the icy plunge courtesy of the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club:
SAFETY FIRST: We have and emergency personnel on-site and in the water to protect you. If you have questions about jumping with a medical condition, please consult your doctor before the event.
CARPOOL: Parking can be crowded, so help us out by meeting friends nearby and sharing a ride to the beach parking lot. Don't let limited parking limit our fundraising efforts!
ARRIVE EARLY: Arrive by 12 p.m. for registration/check-in and to get your jumper bracelet. You cannot jump without a bracelet. There will be NO registrations after 1:40 p.m.
TAILGATING: Feel free to bring fun and games to the event. Alcohol is prohibited in the park. Please obey and respect Park Officers and Fire Department personnel, they are here to help!
BLANKETS & TOWELS: Bring an old blanket to put down on the beach to use as a seat. As the ground might be wet or snow-covered, consider putting a plastic tablecloth down first so your blanket doesn't get wet.
SET UP CAMP: After registration/check-in, find a place for your blanket and stuff. This will save you any last-minute rush when your jumper group is called. Go explore the event, get some food, buy a 50/50 ticket, meet your fellow jumpers and take photos. Don't leave any valuables unattended at your blanket.
JUMP ATTIRE: Costumes aren't required, but add to the festivities. This is a family event, so jumpers wearing inappropriate attire may be asked to leave. Wear your jumping clothes under the outfit you wear to the event. This way, you don't have to worry about changing and can stay warm longer!
PROTECTIVE FOOTWEAR: Wear something on your feet, i.e., old tennis shoes or "aqua socks," etc. to prevent cuts on your feet from the ice and to prevent your feet from sticking to the snow, ice, and dirt on shore.
DO YOU WEAR GLASSES? We suggest you use an athletic band to hold them to your face, or not wear them at all. If you lose them in the lake it's a little cold to go looking.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION! Keep in mind that the ice and docks are wet and slippery. Be careful before you jump and especially right after. Take your time as you make your way to the changing tents.
SAVOR THE MOMENT: When your jumper group is called, the jump will be over before your goosebumps know what hit them, so savor the moment out in the lake in front of your fellow Polar Bears. "High Fives" and "Loud Cheers" never feel so good and you've got 365 days until next time!
CHANGING AFTER THE JUMP: The quickest way to warm up is get your wet clothes off. We have heated women's and men's changing tents right on the beach. Have a dry change of clothes and shoe change into. A fleece works great as a base layer. Bring a plastic bag for your wet clothes.