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Plungers Brave Icy Atlantic for 19th Annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights

Polar plungers and onlookers packed the Seaside Heights beach and boardwalk Saturday for the 19th Annual Polar Bear Plunge benefiting  Special Olympics of New Jersey.

Seaside Polar Plunge 2012
Mike Fabian and Anthony Cavallo, polar bear plungers on the Seaside boardwalk following the Polar Plunge. (Staff photo: Leanne Vuksanic)

SPECIAL SECTION: The Seaside Polar Plunge – pictures and more

The event started promptly at 1 p.m. as plungers ran wildly into the ocean, then immediately headed back to the crowded shore.

New Jersey 101.5’s Big Joe Henry, the host for the event, reports  5976 plungers this year will likely raise between $1.5 – $1.6 million.

Lakewood Police Officer John Macerino says, “I’m cold!” immediately following the jump. “I went in with the Lakewood PBA, yay!” Macerino says, “In memory of Chris Matlosz’s home team. God bless him and God bless America.”

A few people were treated following the jump, according to event staff member Billy McCrystal, President of Ocean Beach volunteer fire. He estimated that about 4 people were taken away and treated for “hypothermia, shock maybe, cold,” he speculates.

“They were kinda red lookin’,” laughs Chet Romatowski, of Ocean Beach Fire Station # 27.

“It was amazing, I went in twice and I want to go back in, in my clothes,” Kristal Orlando of Brick says.

This was her first year participating and she says she’ll definitely do it again. “Lots of naked people,” out there, she noted.

Getting dressed on the beach was Kim Johns, 29, of Freehold. “We went in, in our underwear. We jumped in. It was […] cold, it’s a good party,” she says.

The weather cooperated and plungers had clear, sunny skies and temperatures near 47 degrees. The ocean was about 45 degrees.

“That’s kinda warm for this time of year,” says Doug Plaag, lifetime surfer and Seaside Park resident.

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