Parkersburg taking the Polar Plunge on Saturday

The 2020 Polar Plunge benefit for the West Virginia Special Olympics will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Bicentennial Park in downtown Parkersburg. (File Photo)

PARKERSBURG — The Polar Plunge benefit for West Virginia Special Olympics in Parkersburg will be 1:30 p.m. Saturday in downtown Parkersburg.

Previously held at the former Point Park Marketplace, this year’s event will be at Bicentennial Park next to the Blennerhassett Hotel.

The Polar Plunge is a jump into an ice-cold pool. Participants, generally in teams of four, obtain pledges to make the jump.

All proceeds from the Polar Plunge go to the West Virginia Special Olympics for programs that benefit athletes with developmental disabilities.

Single events, of which seven are held around the state, have raised as much as $25,000 for the organization.

From 45 to 65 people participate in the jump, many wearing costumes for the event, organizers said.

Registration, which can be made online at sowv.org or on the day of the event at the park, begins at 1:30 p.m. when the festival area opens. The costume contest will be held at 2:30 p.m.

At 2:55 p.m. Saturday, plungers are advised on how to survive the plunge. Participants have been advised to bring a robe and slippers to wear before and after the plunge and to bring towels.

The plunge, in which diving is prohibited, starts at 3 p.m.

Plungers receive awards for the amount of pledges they raise: $50, T-shirt; $200, mug and a T-shirt; $350, a fleece, mug and a T-shirt; $500, a gift certificate for dinner, a fleece, a mug and a T-shirt.

The After-Plunge Party after the plunge will be held in the conference room on the second floor of the Parkersburg Municipal Building. It is free for participants and others can attend for an admission fee.

Special awards will be presented to the individual raising the most money, the team of four raising the most money, the individual with the best costume and the team with the best costume.

Rules include: each participant must raise a minimum of $50 to plunge; participants can stay in the water as long as they like, but most quickly exit, within established safety guidelines; diving is not permitted; wet suits are not permitted; swimsuits or shorts with a T-shirt are permitted.

A signed release form is required.

Participants under 18 must have a release signed by a parent or guardian.