Polar Plunge hits Lake Cumberland once again

Mar. 14—Plungers took a dip into a positively chilly temperature of 50 degrees this Saturday at Lee's Ford Marina. Cold as it was, it was all for a good cause of supporting athletes competing in the Special Olympics.

Following a costume contest where each team showed off their pride for the cause, they each took turns jumping into the drink of Lake Cumberland. As per usual, the event was emceed by Greg Moore, Program Director at Somerset 106, WYKY FM.

Moore has emceed for the Polar Plunge for six or seven years, by his own estimation, and is happy to see the growth of the event.

He riffed with plungers during the event and made sure to give proper countdowns for each team. His quintessential wacky "muppet spirit hoodie," as he called it, topped his head and also doubled as a pretty warm winter-wear.

"I'd theme it up every year, like I did a pirate hat," said Moore. "Then I wore this one year, and... it's just perfect. I don't know why I would change it up, so I just wear this one every year."

Hannah Blancet, Development events director for Special Olympics Ky, said that there were around 70 participants in this year's plunge.

"That's a big jump... no pun intended," she said with a chuckle.

The turnout was impressive considering the plunge had to compete with the Shamrock Shuffle which was put on concurrently, but a fairly large group of rooters and cheerers had assembled on the docks of Lee's Ford Marina.

Blancet cited the 11,000 people in Kentucky who have intellectual disabilities and felt this was key to the motivation of putting on events like the Polar Plunge. Money raised goes to health promotions and medical programs that benefit disabled athletes.

Moore's motivation was similar. As the de facto official emcee of the plunge, it's clear that this event holds a special place in his heart.

"I'm asked to emcee events all the time, but I pass on them. I do this one in particular because it's fun and it's fun to watch," said Moore. "The people who sign up to do this kind of thing are very much MY kind of people... I love doing it every year."

The Polar Plunge of 2023 raised more than $21,000.