One of the Special Olympics Alaska's signature fundraising events, the Polar Plunge, is jumping into its 11th year.

On Thursday, the Anchorage Fire Department's water rescue team cut a hole in the ice on Goose Lake. Now the tasks of setting up tents, hot tubs, and other accoutrements can start.

The event is a big draw for Special Olympics Alaska and the community as whole.

People, known as "plungers," who sign up to jump into a nearly frozen Goose Lake have to meet a minimum of $125 to participate. Many plungers form teams, wear costumes, and make a fun time of it. All the money raised goes straight to the organization to be used for competition, events and more.

It allows the nonprofit to allow athletes with developmental disabilities to train and compete at no cost to them. 

This year's goal is $350,000.

If that goal is broken, vice president and chief operating officer Sarah Arts says she will break her rule of participating in the plunge only once a decade. If they surpass $350,000, she will jump in Goose Lake. 

The Polar Plunge is Saturday, Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. Those that are participating, spectating or cheering on the plungers are urged to park at the Wendy Williamson west parking lot on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. A shuttle will be provided to get people back and forth. 

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