Hundreds braved the cold waters of the Long Island Sound as they took part in the fourth-annual Rye Polar Plunge at Playland Park in Rye on Saturday.
As the clock struck noon, Special Olympics athlete EJ Greczylo, of Somers, joined committee chairman Joe Barca as they bore the event torch and ran down the beach. Greczylo's brother, Alex, brought two dozen of his Keene State University fraternity brothers to take the plunge. Family and friends also joined.
Small groups, friends holding hands, and solo participants followed in waves and each bore a similar look of fright and shock on their faces as they entered the water.
The event is coordinated with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and several area police officers participated.
For Greczylo's mom Katie, who stayed warm and dry as she watched from the beach, the event is a special day.
"This supports everything EJ loves and it's become his passion. He's starting to see what fund-raising really is. He understands now what it mean to raise money for a cause and not just to receive it."
Many participants dressed in costumes or wore event-appropriate headwear, including a team of girls from Ursuline who sported snowman hats, while a trio from Rye dressed as Polar Bears. Still others wore Santa hats, and one woman even dressed as Rudolph—complete with Red nose.
Those wishing to donate money to the event can visit www.2011.kintera.org/ryeplunge.