Polar Plunge at Nottingham Lake on Feb. 24, benefits Special Olympics | VailDaily.com

Polar Plunge at Nottingham Lake on Feb. 24, benefits Special Olympics

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The annual Avon Polar Plunge at Nottingham Lake supports the Special Olympics with a quick, fun, chilly dip to raise funds and awareness. Last year, local law enforcement and Colorado State Troopers joined in the plunge. The event returns Saturday, Feb. 24.

AVON — Grab your friends and get your costumes ready — it's time to get freezing for a reason for Special Olympics of Colorado.

On Saturday, Feb. 24, Avon will host a polar plunge joining communities nationwide in supporting the Special Olympics Polar Plunge for a quick, fun, chilly dip to raise funds and awareness for the mission and programs of Special Olympics. The Special Olympics provides impactful sports and leadership opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.

Beginning at 1 p.m., teams from across Colorado will take the plunge into Nottingham Lake, which will be an estimated 22 degrees. Each team will be in the lake for less than three minutes and can warm up with hot beverages and soup after they plunge.

Last year, officers from the Avon Police Department participated alongside members of the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Troopers and members of Vail Public Safety and Vail Police Department.

“We want to support the handful of Special Olympic athletes who reside in Eagle County, and to help cover some of their medical costs by hosting more events and fundraisers here in Avon this year.”Al ZepedaAvon police officer

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Those who wish to donate to the cause but stay warm and dry can "hibernate" by donating to a team online. All donors and participants who fundraise $75 or more will receive a long-sleeve T-shirt and a day-pass to the Avon Recreation Center, where they can warm up with a hot shower or hot tub.

Register for the Polar Plunge at http://www.avon.org/polarplunge.

For those who wish to warm up before jumping in the lake, the February Freezer 5K race will begin at 11 a.m., following the traditional Dunk N' Dash course around Nottingham Lake, past Avon Elementary, down to Bob the Bridge and back to the finish in Nottingham Park. Participants in the 5K race will receive a beanie and a day pass at the Avon Recreation Center.

Register for the 5K at http://www.avon.org/events.

Raising funds, awareness

In 2017, Eagle County donated about $12,000 to Special Olympics of Colorado with events throughout the year. This year, Polar Plunge efforts are being spearheaded by Avon Police officer Al Zepeda.

"The goal is to increase donations to more than $16,000 in 2018, as well as raise awareness about people with intellectual impairments in Eagle County," Zepeda said. "We want to support the handful of Special Olympic athletes who reside in Eagle County, and to help cover some of their medical costs by hosting more events and fundraisers here in Avon this year."

Don't fret the cold. Plunging with friends makes it so much fun. Strut or run into the waters wearing your finest costumes and be automatically entered into the costume contest, which offers a $100 cash prize.

Following the plunge, Avon Mayor Jennie Fancher will be on-site to toast the 40th anniversary of Avon's incorporation date. There will be cake for all event participants.

Contact Zepeda with the town of Avon Police Department at azepeda@avon.org or 970-748-4439 for more information about this event.