Lifestyle

Polar Plunge into cool Santa Barbara waters helps the Special Olympics

Many organizations raise funds before a chilly dip

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

It took a warm dedication to the Special Olympics in Santa Barbara to dive into the annual Polar Plunge event Sunday at Leadbetter Beach.

The participants all raised money either individually or as a team to qualify for a spot to race into the ocean as a celebration of their donation.

The morning started off with a breakfast prepared by area firefighters in the parking lot and picnic site.

About 11:30 a.m. under still cool temperatures, semi-foggy skies and April water temperatures, the participants lined up on the sand to be announced for their moment in the water.

Each participating group or individual had conveyed some words about why they were involved, how they prepared and their final words before heading into the water.

A solid crowd cheered and some of those involved screamed as they went to the surf.

Among the participants were the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department,  the District Attorney's Office, the Santa Barbara Police Department, the UC Santa Barbara Police Department, the Probation department, California Highway Patrol, Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff's Association, the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue team, and several individuals.

The police department team also used colorful inflatables with designs of a unicorn and flamingo.

The Special Olympics recently held a Tip-a-Cop dinner at Petrini's restaurant in Santa Barbara.  It raised $3000. Next up will be a Tip-a-Cop lunch at the Paradise Cafe on April 24.

The annual Torch Run takes place in June.


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