Feb. 16, 2013: A group of friends prepares to take the plunge at the 10th annual Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump at Portage Lakes State Park. Photo by Ryan Haidet, WKYC-TV.
PORTAGE LAKES -- Pirates, ninjas and superheroes were among the wacky pack of people jumping into wickedly cold waters in the 10th annual Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump.
With flurries flying and ice floating, hundreds of people packed the beach at Portage Lakes State Park on Saturday to take the bone-chilling challenge in an effort to raise money for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
Photos: 2013 Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump
Officials with the event say it was a splashing success with more than $80,000 raised.
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank says every dollar will generate four meals.
Each brave jumper raised/donated at least $25 to take part in the plunge.
The 2013 event started with Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank CEO Dan Flowers making the first jump with his son around 2 p.m.
From that point forward, more than 725 people -- some in simple swimwear, others in goofy getups -- put their toes on the edge of the dock and lunged into the choppy water.
Some then swam to a nearby ladder to get out of the water as quickly as possible, while others raced to shore where a large audience of warmly dressed folks watched it all unfold.
Looking back: 2012 Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump
Emergency crews were on hand to make sure everybody was safe and warming tents were available.
To date, the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump has raised nearly $400,000 since it started in 2004.