Many community members and thrill seekers will be making a splash this Saturday at the annual Morgantown Polar Plunge.

“We’ve been doing the Morgantown Polar Plunge for 15-16 years now, and it’s a great way for the community to have some fun and excitement in the middle of winter,” said John Corbett, chief executive officer for Special Olympics of West Virginia.

The Plunge draws in crowds because of its popular costume contest. A panel of volunteer judges select winners for an individual costume prize and a group costume prize.

Then, the costume-clad plungers jump into Cheat Lake.

“We’ve had people dress as the rock group Kiss, the Flintstones, a frozen bag of peas and a diver who secretly tucks an actual fish into his costume, enters the water and then emerges with the actual fish,” Corbett said.

While many people partake in the Plunge and the costume contest, there are many people who simply come out to watch and support the cause.

“We have many who either participate and come out and watch every year, and along with those participating for the first time, it always makes for a lively and fun atmosphere,” Corbett said.

All proceeds from the Plunge go to the Special Olympics of West Virginia, and in order to participate in the Plunge, each participant needs to raise at least $50.

But many raise more than the required $50.

“Most people reach out to friends, family members, co-workers, etc., and ask that they make a pledge in support of their participation in the Plunge,” Corbett said. “Many raise more money so they can get more Polar Plunge swag in addition to the always-popular Polar Plunge t-shirt.”

Corbett also said the Plunge provides a great opportunity for the Special Olympics of West Virginia to spark awareness and raise funds.

“Most of the funding raised in Morgantown goes toward the Special Olympics WV State Basketball and Cheerleading held every March at WVU and Morgantown High School and features more than 500 Special Olympics WV athletes,” Corbett said.

The Plunge is made possible by the vast group of volunteers in the Morgantown community who work tirelessly to ensure the event is successful, according to Corbett.

“The Morgantown community has been absolutely wonderful in supporting this event over the years. It says something about how supportive the community has been,” Corbett said.

The Plunge will be held at the Crab Shack Caribba boat launch area on Cheat Lake from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration can be done on-site.