An unknown number of brave souls will enter Lake Tahoe’s near-freezing waters Sunday for the second annual Tahoe Keys Polar Bear Plunge, an event to benefit a local charity.
Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association will sponsor the event, and all proceeds will go to Christmas Cheer, which offers food and clothes to families in need.
“They have no government funding whatsoever. No local, no state, no nothing,” said Allison Jones, vice president of Community Ink Inc., a company that works with the property association. “Everything is volunteer. Everything they get is given to them.”
This year, the association is offering a variety of incentives to make jumping into the cold lake more appealing. A snowman-building contest will be held if weather permits, and prizes will be offered in several categories throughout the day.
Prizes — some include all-day lift tickets to an unnamed ski resort — will go to the best snowman built, the most original snowman built, the first plunger to dive into the lake and the best plunger costume.
People plunging into the lake are encouraged to dress up for the event in any costume they like, Jones said.
Other entertainment will include a polar bear mascot, hot beverages, food from local businesses and ukulele music from MaryLou Whitcomb.
The South Lake Tahoe Fire Department will also be present at the event, turning on the “Go” siren when the lake plunge begins at noon.
Once the siren sounds off, participants are then expected to make their way into the lake, which has a temperature of about 42 degrees in some parts.
Pat Disney, a committee member for the event, said she took the plunge last year. It was her first polar bear plunge experience.
“I thought it was fun,” she said, “and it wasn’t as cold as I expected.”
Registration begins at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Tahoe Keys Pavilion and Beach, and the Plunge is open to all ages. Organizers are asking for a $25 donation from each plunger to support Christmas Cheer. They also ask that spectators bring a box, bag or can of nonperishable food as admission.
Anyone else who would like to donate to the charity, but can’t attend the event, can do so by taking food or cash to the Association office by Friday.
For more information, call Harry Jones at 530-582-9012.