Polar Bear Plunge 2014

The Polar Bear Plunge was canceled due to extreme wintry conditions last weekend after these plungers took to the water during Friday's Super Plunge. The full event has been rescheduled for March. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun photo / January 24, 2014)

The Polar Bear Plunge, which was canceled this past weekend because of safety concerns amid extreme conditions, has been rescheduled for March 8, organizers announced Tuesday.

Winds as high as 35 mph and 3- to 4-foot waves that left snow and ice on the beach at Sandy Point State Park— where thousands romp into the freezing cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay each year — caused the event to be put on hold Saturday.

"Keeping people safe is our first concern," said Jason Schriml, spokesman for Special Olympics Maryland, for which this year's event has already raised $1.6 million. "We really appreciate everyone's patience and understanding."

The $1.6 million is well shy of Special Olympics Maryland's $2.5 million goal for the event, held in partnership with the Maryland State Police, but Schriml hoped the rescheduling will allow more people to sign up and donate.

The March event will give volunteers four opportunities to run into the water — a family plunge at 11 a.m., and then open plunges at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Food and heated tents will be provided, and parking passes from Saturday can be used at the rescheduled event, Schriml said. Event sweatshirts will also be distributed to participants who haven't picked one up.

It remains to be seen whether a plunge in the spring, with potentially warmer temperatures, will put a damper on the excitement of the event for thrill-seekers.

Schriml doesn't think so.

"We think the water temperature will be plenty cold," he said.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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