Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. -  Hundreds of warm-hearted individuals will brave the chilly waters of Lake of the Ozarks to raise money for Special Olympics Missouri during the 23rd annual Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge, Saturday, Feb. 24.

For most of the year, Public Beach #2 in Lake of the Ozarks State Park is a hotbed of activity with many anglers and vacationers taking advantage of the marina for their water recreation. But, typically, in the heart of Missouri's winter, one wouldn't expect to see anything other than fish and waterfowl in the water. Unless, of course, it's time for the annual Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge.

Captain America takes a dive during the 
2017 Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge.
The "granddaddy" of the Polar Plunge events, this fun and entertaining winter outing, draws around 400 costume-clad participants and up to a thousand spectators each year. The events help raise funds for Special Olympics Missouri's year-around program for sports training and competition for 15,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Last year's 
Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge activities raised over $130,000 for Special Olympics Missouri.

"It's really quite the sight," says Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau. "The different costumes that some of the participants come up with are really creative and you can tell everyone's having a great time. It's become a winter tradition at the Lake of the Ozarks. And, for some of the participants and spectators, they come for the plunge but stay and make a fun weekend out of it."

A Polar Bear Strut, a 5K walk/run, takes place prior to the "plunge" on Saturday morning, Feb. 24. The Strut begins and concludes at City Hall in Osage Beach. Registration for the Strut runs from 8-9:30 a.m., with the walk/run starting at 10 a.m.

The 2017 Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge activities raised over $130,000 for Special Olympics Missouri.
The plunge takes place Saturday afternoon and begins with registration from noon until 2 p.m.  With so many teams and individuals dressing up in colorful costumes for their plunge, the event begins with an entertaining costume parade at 2 p.m. Following the parade, all the 
"plungers" run, walk or crawl into the chilly water at 2:30 p.m.

After everyone has had a chance to dry off and warm up, the festivities move to Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, the host hotel for the event, for a Post-Plunge Party from 4-7 p.m. The party features live music by Kricket Alley, presentation of the "Golden Plunger Awards" for the best costumes, both a silent and live auction, and plenty of food and drinks. The party is free for Polar Plunge participants but costs $10 per guest/spectator. All proceeds from the party will go to Special Olympics Missouri.

In total, the 13 different plunges that took place around the state raised just over $940,000.
In addition to the main event, there are two smaller plunges that take place the day before, Friday, Feb. 23: the PeeWee Plunge and the Super Plunge. The PeeWee Plunge begins at 6:30 p.m. at Osage Beach Fire Station #2 and features a warm-water pool. The PeeWee Plunge is for children nine years and younger that also want to participate and contribute to Special Olympics. For participants who want to go above and beyond in their fundraising for Special Olympics, there's the Super Plunge, which consists of taking 24 dips in the Lake within a 24-hour period.

The Lake of of the Ozarks event is one of 13 that take place around Missouri throughout the month of February. In all, the 2017 Missouri plunges raised just under $1 million for Special Olympics, coming in at $940,000.

Close to a thousand spectators line up around Public Beach #2 in Lake of the Ozarks State Park to cheer on the plungers.
To ensure the safety of all participants, Special Olympics has lifeguards, divers, medical and emergency personnel, heaters, warming shelters and warming mechanisms on hand at every event. There also will be concession tents offering food, hot chocolate, coffee and other refreshments, as well as a souvenir tent selling Polar Plunge merchandise. 

The Polar Plunge and Polar Bear Strut are projects of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Missouri and is proudly hosted by the Osage Beach Police Department. 

For more information on all the Polar Plunge activities at the Lake of the Ozarks, or for details on how to participate, volunteer or make donations, visit Special Olympics Missouri's website at

Additional winter events, as well as year around attractions and information on all lodging and dining options available at the Lake, can be found on the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website,, or by calling 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).  

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Phone: 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) Fax: 573-348-2293  

P.O. Box 1498  Osage Beach, MO 65065

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