Chicago Polar Plunge goes virtual

The Chicago Polar Plunge, one of the biggest and best known events, will be going virtual for 2021.

Video Transcript

- The Chicago Polar Plunge is one of the best-known polar plunges in the country. And this year, the event is going virtual. Starting tomorrow, you can plunge safely in the setting of your choosing. The event is a fundraiser, of course, for Special Olympics Chicago and Special Children's Charities.

Jennifer Kramer is joining us live this morning to talk all about it. Jennifer, thanks for being here.

JENNIFER KRAMER: Thank you so much for having us. Good morning.

- Good morning. OK, so, of course, the Chicago Polar Plunge, it's a staple in the city. Everybody from Lady Gaga to Vince Vaughn, they've plunged in those icy waters of Lake Michigan. This year, we're talking about it going virtual. So how can people participate and still raise money for a great cause?

JENNIFER KRAMER: Absolutely, this is the 21st Annual Chicago Polar Plunge. We're actually virtual for the first time. People can still register at This is plunge week. So we're going to have people plunging in different ways all week long.

- That's awesome. And I see a lot of little ones by you as well. Tell us about where the money goes and how it helps?

JENNIFER KRAMER: Sure. I'm at the [INAUDIBLE] Preschool this morning. And all of the funds raised by this school and by everyone else who's plunging to our 7,500 athletes in Chicago for year-round programming. Obviously, as things are virtual right now, we're offering cooking classes, trivia, bingo, exercise classes. And all of that money is critically important even in this time for our programming.

- Oh, of course. And I know I saw-- you're at that preschool. And we see them doing a little mini plunge. So what can they do for a polar plunge this year when it's virtual?

JENNIFER KRAMER: Sure, people are jumping into snow banks. And since smelted, we've gotten in cold showers. We've gotten in dunk tanks. People are putting their feet in ice for hours at a time. You can do it also from your easy chair. It's just about raising some money for a very critical cause in our city.

- And when you think about the impact that Special Olympics makes on the city and the folks that it helps, I mean, what does that mean to you?

JENNIFER KRAMER: Well, certainly, as Chicago is the birthplace of Special Olympics, we're most proud in the city of this international movement that helps our most vulnerable people. I'm a passionate fundraiser for Special Olympics myself as we all must take care of one another. My friend Phoebe here, is dedicating her polar plunge to her sister, Lucy, as are all of our other preschoolers here at [INAUDIBLE], have all picked an athlete to support.

- That is fantastic.

JENNIFER KRAMER: So it's about starting them early.

- You bet. And it is so sweet to see them all out there this morning. Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.


- Thanks, Jennifer. Have a great day. See you guys later. You could take the plunge March 1st through the 17th in the setting of your choosing. And then there's a Virtual Meltdown Party on Sunday, March 7th, handing out awards for the annual costume contest for most creative plunges as well. March 1st through the 7th, you can take that plunge.