Blaire Budzickie of Mentor reacts to the cold water of Lake Erie on Saturday during the Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park, Ohio.
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ASHTABULA, Ohio — Hundreds of people from across Ohio stripped down to their swimsuits to take a frigid plunge in Lake Erie on Saturday.
About 370 participants jumped into the lake for the 18th annual Polar Bear Plunge in Geneva Township in northeastern Ohio.
Area firefighters dressed in wet suits created a semi-circle to make sure the participants were safe as the frolicked in the freezing water.
Organizer Chandra Brode tells The Star-Beacon in Ashtabula that the event raised more than $75,000 for Special Olympics Ohio.
She says participation was down from last year but those who did join in “are truly committed Polar Bears.”
She says participants came all the way from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Toledo.
Those who took the plunge said the event was cold but fun.