Auburn residents will soon get the chance to explore their inner penguin and take a plunge into the frigid waters of Samford Pool at the 8th annual Polar Plunge at 9 a.m. Feb. 1.
And it's all for a good cause, as all of the funds raised go to support Lee County Special Olympics athletes. Last year's event raised more than $16,000, which went toward buying equipment for the athletes and making sure they could participate in programs.
"That was by far our biggest one money-wise so far," said Ryan Molt, league sports coordinator for the city of Auburn. "Obviously, that’s the ultimate goal with it, so we were thrilled with last year and just hoping we can do something close to that again and keep funds for Lee County Special Olympics nice and high so they can do all the programs they want to.
"It’s makes a really, really big impact."
Past plungers have included Mayor Ron Anders and City Council members, as well as Aubie, who has taken the plunge and powered his way across the length of the pool to shouts of encouragement.
The temperature that year matched the typical water temperature in the upper-30s. Other years, the air temperature is more, well, Alabama-like, hovering in the milder 50s or 60s.
Molt, who started the Polar Plunge by hosting it at his backyard pool the first year, is hoping the weather falls into the former, more frigid category.
"Man, just hoping for cold," he said. "My dream is to get snow on the day of the plunge. We actually got close the second year. We got snow about three days beforehand, but it was all gone by the day of the plunge.
"I want it as cold as possible because it is a little anticlimactic if it’s 75 or 80 degrees. Hopefully, it will be cold."
The Auburn High soccer teams usually get in on the fun, too, and make a big impact — the boys team raised about $2,000 last year alone.
"We’re also hoping to have the soccer teams from Auburn High," he said. "It was definitely a big help for the cause."
"A big thing for them to do is go out and get as many people as they can to sponsor them," he said. "We have prizes for people that raise the most money."
Those interested in becoming corporate sponsors can contact Molt directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We would be thrilled to have anybody that we can from the community to get involved with it," he said.