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RELEASE: SOMO prepares for 18th Annual Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge and Polar Bear Strut 5k

Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge

CAPE GIRARDEAU – The 18th Annual Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge will take place on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. Brave men and women from around the area will don Hawaiian-themed costumes and swimwear and take “polar” dips into the lake at Cape County Park North. Their Reason for Freezin’ is the athletes of Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO)! All proceeds from this year’s event will benefit training and competition for the thousands of SOMO athletes across the state, including right here in Cape Girardeau.

The Polar Plunge is open to anyone 10 years or older who is a fan of having a good time for a good cause. The event is hosted by the Cape Girardeau Police Department and will take place at Cape County Park North – 2400 County Park Drive. Day-of registration begins at noon, and the Plunge starts promptly at 2 p.m.

“What an awesome experience it is to plan an event where people are willing and desire to do something out of their comfort zone to help someone else,” Plunge Coordinator Penny Williams said. “What makes it even better is that they have chosen to help the athletes of Special Olympics Missouri.”

In 2023, Cape Girardeau Polar Plungers raised more than $63,000 for SOMO athletes. Each participant must raise a minimum of $75 to take the Plunge and can earn incentives by reaching fundraising goals. This year’s goal is $66,000, and organizers hope to break the million-dollar mark across the state with more than 10 events.

For those not interested in the cold water, SOMO invites everyone out to the Polar Bear Strut! This 5k is another way to show your bravery in the freezing cold! You can run, walk, roll or strut through the cold winter air. Whatever works! You can sign up for the Polar Bear Strut here! The strut registration begins at 9:30 a.m., and the run begins at 10 a.m.

Costumes are highly encouraged. Awards will be given in the following categories for pre-registered Plungers only:

  • Top Fundraisers
  • Top Fundraising Group
  • Top Fundraising School

Golden Plunger awards for the most creative costumes will also be presented to the Top Group and Top Individuals. 

No wet suits are allowed, and shoes are required.

The easiest and most efficient way to register and fundraise is online. Simply go to our Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge page to sign up. We encourage Plungers to email their friends and families to support their Plunge efforts. Paper registration forms are also available at SOMO’s Southeast Area office. Mail or deliver pre-registration forms and the minimum $75 contribution to Special Olympics Missouri Plunge, 1625 N Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau MO 63701.

Plunging participants will receive an official Polar Plunge commemorative shirt, bragging rights for freezing your fur off, a Plunger meal and free admission to the Pre-Plunge Party at Cape Elks Lodge, 639 Elk Lane. The Pre-Plunge Party admission for the general public is $15 per person. Participants can also receive incentives for reaching fundraising goals: $250 – Plunge Logo Towel, $500 – Sling Bag, $1,000 – Stanley Cup and $2,000 – Touch Screen Gloves and all other items.

SOMO is lucky to have two Polar Plunge Ambassadors helping with this event. Our Plunge Ambassadors for this year’s Plunge are Lisa Berryhill and Daniel Fultz. They are both SOMO athletes, and they have been working for months to help spread awareness of the Plunge!

“I plunge every year,” Berryhill said. “I love competing with my Special Olympics Missouri teammates, and I am very good at raising money for the things I love.”

If you’d like to set up an interview with any of our Plunge Ambassadors or receive any additional information about the Polar Plunge, please contact Penny Williams at 573-339-6733 or email

Thank you so much to our sponsors!

  • Our Polar Level sponsors are Bantera Bank, Cape Kiwanis Club, Cape County Park, Drury Southwest, Sam’s Club, Coad Toyota, Cape Police Dept., Cape Fire Dept, and Cape Parks and Recreation Dept.
  • Our Tundra Level sponsors are Culver’s, American Family-Laurel and Chris Adkisson, AID/VIP and Southern Cross Medical.