Polar Dip raises more than $10,000 for Special Olympics

SINCLAIR, Maine — Ice chunks floated not far from the shore of Long Lake in Sinclair but 35 people plunged into the freezing water during the 2022 Polar Dip for Aroostook Special Olympics on Sunday.

Dippers who join the event seek sponsor donations from people or businesses ahead of the dip. All funds raised are donated to Aroostook Special Olympics, which supports athletes in The County.

The fundraising dippers braved 34-degree waters with an air temperature just about 10 degrees warmer, and managed to raise more than $10,000 for special athletes in Aroostook County.  

Owen Cyr, 8, is a Special Olympian who dipped on Sunday. He said it was cold, but he had a very good reason for getting water in his tennis shoes.

“My mother needed a partner,” he said.

Camp Tall Pines Special Olympics board member Norm Gray traveled from Auburn to participate in the Polar Dip.

“Awareness is what we need. We need for these athletes to be accepted in society,” Gray said. 

Many others donated money to the event or showed up to demonstrate their support for the Polar Dip held on the shore of the Long Lake Sporting Club

Although the popular restaurant closed its doors last fall, owners offered up their land for the Polar Dip, where it has been held for many years, and even provided a limited menu for the afternoon to accommodate those involved with the fundraiser.  

“What an amazing gathering of hundreds of individuals coming together from across Maine in support of Special Olympics. The best part of the day was knowing how our efforts would be placing smiles on the faces of Special Olympians right here in The County,” event organizer Duane Belanger said. 

Volunteers with North Lakes Fire and Rescue attended the Polar Dip to provide emergency services if needed.

The Polar Dip will return next year on Sunday, May 7, Belanger said.

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