10th Anniversary of Arctic Plunge

Since 2002, over $200,000 has been raised for local organizations

By Rachel Kytonen

Note: The Snowmobile Races on Saturday, March 3 have been cancelled and no one will be allowed on the ice.

Since 2002, over $200,000 has been raised to help the local fire departments, food shelves and Isanti County Safety & Rescue through the Arctic Plunge.

The Arctic Plunge was formed after Herb Knutson took the first plunge into the frigid waters of Long Lake in February 2002 to raise funds for the American Red Cross.

The 10th Anniversary of the Arctic Plunge on Long Lake will be held Saturday, March 3. Last year’s plunge consisted of 133 jumpers and raised over $26,000 for local organizations. Approximately 5,000 people come out and watch the Plunge each year. NEWS file photo

“I was the only jumper for the first one, but we raised $5,500 for the Red Cross,” Knutson recalled. “My friends and I had been talking about how we could raise funds for the Red Cross.  After they raised the funds, I knew I had to go through with it and I jumped into the lake.”

The Arctic Plunge has continued to grow each year, with 2011 consisting of 133 jumpers and approximately 5,000 people in attendance.

Over $26,000 was raised in 2011 to benefit local organizations that included: Cambridge Fire, St. Francis Fire, Oak Grove Fire, Dalbo Fire, Braham Food Shelf, Spirit River Church Food Shelf, Children Come First, Isanti Senior Dining, and Isanti County Safety Rescue.

This year’s event, marking the 10th Anniversary of the Arctic Plunge, will be held Saturday, March 3.

The day’s events begin with Long Lake Vintage Snowmobile Races at 10 a.m. on the north end of Long Lake. The Old Fashioned Ice Cutting Demonstration will begin at 1 p.m. by the Englund Family with the plunge at 2 p.m. Lisa Miller and Dave Mordal from KQRS will host this year’s event.

People will also be able to enjoy ice sculpting demonstrations, kids’ games, dog sleds, helicopter rides and a Vendor Fair that will be held inside the Pavilion at Captain’s On Long Lake. At 8 p.m., The Inglorious Hellcats, will begin playing inside Captain’s.

Knutson mentioned there will also be raffles this year. Included in the raffle is a 2012 Edition Quilt created with sweatshirt designs from all 10 years of the Arctic Plunge made by the mother of Eric Johnson, owner of Captain’s on Long Lake.

New this year is a pre-registration party will that will be held at Captain’s on Friday, March 2. Registration will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., with Jonah and the Whales performing at 7:30 p.m. Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon will sponsor a Chili Feed from 4 to 7 p.m.

The first 100 jumpers to pre-register will receive a free jump towel and are entered in a drawing for two Minnesota Wild Tickets in the KQRS Suite. Each jumper is asked to raise $100. If you would like to make a pledge for a specific jumper, or if you are a jumper and would like to pay your jumper fee online, visit www. arcticplunge.com. Registration will also be available on March 3 at Captain’s.

Knutson noted due to ice conditions, there will be no parking on Long Lake this year but shuttles will be available up until an hour after the plunge ends to transport people to and from their vehicles. Additional parking is available at Long Lake Lutheran Church and in a field across from the church.

Knutson was excited to mention that Captain Morgan® will be bringing in the New York Captain (the one that stars in the commercials) for the plunge on Saturday. He will also be joined by his girls, The Morganettes.

The Arctic Plunge is a nonprofit organization consisting of volunteer members Knutson, Warren Lysdahl, Sue Lysdahl, Duke Dutkiewicz and Brad Olson.

“We are very blessed with a lot of volunteer help,” Knutson noted.

Knutson was hoping after he took the first plunge in 2002 that this would become an annual event.

“We are blessed to have this event that has continued to grow to benefit the community and to have a day of fun,” Knutson noted. “The Arctic  Plunge is really a fun atmosphere and the water is only cold for a minute or two. It’s really a great opportunity to raise funds for a good cause.”

Knutson realizes this event wouldn’t be so successful without the committee members, volunteers and sponsors.

“I would like to thank the committee, our volunteers and our sponsors for making this day possible,” Knutson said. “I would also like to thank our jumpers who continue to raise funds for good causes.”

Knutson said the beneficiaries of this year’s Arctic Plunge will receive their checks at a special banquet on April 20. Sponsors of the Arctic Plunge will be invited to attend. 2012 Arctic Plunge Diamond Sponsors are KQRS and Killebrew Root Beer.

For  more information on the 2012 Arctic Plunge visit www.arcticplunge.com.