Maura Bruton
SCC/Special Olympics Chicago


TODAY Show Personalities Headline the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Polar Plunge, benefiting SCC/Special Olympics Chicago

CHICAGO, ILL (February 20, 2020) – – Al Roker, weekday weather anchor, and Craig Melvin, news anchor and co-host, from NBC’s 3RD Hour of TODAY, will jump into the icy waters of Lake Michigan at The Chicago Polar Plunge, presented by Jackson, on Sunday, March 1, at North Avenue Beach. The event, now in its 20th annual year, benefits the Special Children’s Charities/Special Olympics Chicago program, which serves more than 7500 athletes throughout the city.

Roker and Melvin will kick off the event at 9:45 am with brief remarks. They will then be led into ice-filled Lake Michigan by the Shannon Rovers at 10:00 am. Roker originally did the Chicago Polar Plunge in 2016 with fellow personalities from the TODAY Show. This is the first year Melvin will be “freezin’ for a reason”.

Celebrity Plungers through the years have included former city of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, actors Vince Vaughn and Dax Shepard, musician/artist Lady Gaga, the casts of Chicago FireChicago PD, and Chicago Medin addition to personalities from The TODAY Show.

Over the last two decades, the Chicago Polar Plunge has grown tremendously in size, making it one of the largest in the country. The event started at North Avenue Beach in 2000, with 50 people participating and $20,000 raised. Today, the Chicago Polar Plunge attracts more than 4,500 plungers and is on track to raise more than $2,020,000 this year.

The Chicago Polar Plunge is the most important events of the year for Special Olympics Chicago, as it helps to fund activities, events, transportation, and more, for athletes throughout the city. Athletes compete and train in 22 sports throughout the year in over 150 Chicago Public Schools, and in 27 parks through the Chicago Park District. The Special Olympics Chicago programs that are implemented at the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District are modeled across the country. Support is also provided for arts programming, special events and field trips, and an athlete produced cable access television show.

Registration is now open for 20th annual Chicago Polar Plunge by visiting Onsite registration will also be available at North Avenue Beach, February 28 & 29, as well as on event day, beginning at 8:00 am.

North Avenue Beach is located at 1603 N. Lakeshore Drive in Chicago, Ill.

Media interested in attending The Chicago Polar Plunge should contact Maura Bruton at

For general inquiries on The Chicago Polar Plunge, please call 312.527.3743; or email

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