Polar Bear Plunge

Isabel Klompus of West Baltimore (Dickeyville) runs out of the water during the 16th annual Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point Sate Park in Annapolis. (Jen Rynda / Patuxent Publishing / January 28, 2012)

With sunny skies and temperatures expected in the 50s, a scaled-down Polar Bear Plunge was scheduled at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis on Saturday afternoon after the Special Olympics Maryland fundraiser was canceled in January for the first time ever for dangerous weather.

Some 7,000 plungers had signed up for the event last month, but it was not clear how many were expected for Saturday, with a trimmed down schedule of events. Organizers had said the event held in partnership with the Maryland State Police was expected to raise about $1.8 million, short of the $2.5 million goal.

Three plunges and other event had been scheduled for the original date Jan. 25, but the Maryland Park Service in effect shut down the beach due to high winds and waves. Snow and ice had built up on the shore and the winds threatened to knock down the tents that had been put up for bands and other entertainment.

It was the first time in the fundraiser's 18-year history that the entire event was canceled. In 2010 one of the plunges was canceled after an eight-inch snowfall.

ahirsch@baltsun.com