Duluth celebrates annual Polar Plunge
The Special Olympics fundraiser featuring epic plunges into the unforgiving Lake Superior has become a Northland tradition for the past two decades.
1/9: Polar Plunge manager Mike Thamm has been overseeing Duluth's Polar Plunge event for 21 years. The event dodged the COVID-19 pandemic last year, but adjustments had to be made this year in order to keep everyone safe. According to Thamm, plunge times were scheduled and spaced out from one another to improve social distancing. Virtual plunging was also an option for 2021 participants, with a livestream available on Youtube.
2/9: Employees from the St. Louis Sheriff Department's Rescue Squad volunteer their day servicing the Polar Plunge. They surround the plunging area and assist participants in and out of the water. Instead of jumping off a dock, 2021 participants ran into the lake until they could touch the yellow rescue boat. (Izabel Johnsonfirstname.lastname@example.org)
3/9: Duluth resident Travis Hill high fives his coworker Tommy Kishida as he emerges from Lake Superior onto Parkpoint beach in Duluth after completing the 2021 Polar Plunge. (Izabel Johnsonemail@example.com)
4/9: Libby Gaalaas and Tommy Kishida from Duluth's UnitedHealthCare group plunge simultaneously into Lake Superior on Saturday, March 27 for the 2021 fundraiser. Kishida carried Gaalaas out of the inflatable Polar Plunge tunnel and into the water on his back, the duo laughing the whole time.
5/9: UnitedHealthCare Duluth employees Rick Rice, Steve Klinga and Travis Hill cheer on their coworkers as they take turns running into the water. The group raised $12,000 for this year's fundraiser, with UnitedHealthCare promising to match a percentage of the funds through an additional donation. (Izabel Johnsonfirstname.lastname@example.org)
6/9: Cloquet resident Daniel Valdez, 39, made a splash when he took the 2021 Polar plunge dressed as a clown. Valdez recently moved to Minnesota from Arizona and said if he was going to be a Minnesotan, he "might as well do it the right way." (Izabel Johnsonemail@example.com)
7/9: Cloquet resident Daniel Valdez, 39, made a splash when he took the 2021 Polar plunge dressed as a clown. Valdez recently moved to Minnesota from Arizona and said if he was going to be a Minnesotan, he "might as well do it the right way." (Izabel Johnsonfirstname.lastname@example.org)
8/9: Volunteers Melissa Holmes and Dani Druse work to register people taking the plunge. There was a total of 405 Duluthians registered this year, Holmes said. (Izabel Johnsonemail@example.com)
9/9: Back left to right: Emily Berg, Payton Bartels, Marissa Nelson. Front left to right: Maddie Seyffer and Julie Bieurance.