Arctic Plunge this weekend on Long Lake in Isanti

fr_PlungeSince 2002, more than $300,000 has been raised to help local fire departments, law enforcement, senior dining and food shelves through the Arctic Plunge.

The 12th annual Arctic Plunge will be held Saturday, March 1, on Long Lake in Isanti, near the Captain’s on Long Lake restaurant.

The day begins with Vintage Racing at 10 a.m. (registration from 7-9 a.m.), followed by an old-fashioned ice cutting demonstration by the Englund Family at 1 p.m. and the plunge at 2 p.m. There will also be helicopter rides, and the band “Hitchville” will perform at Captain’s at 9 p.m.

A preregistration party will be held at Captain’s Friday, Feb. 28. Registration for the plunge will be held from 5-7 p.m., with the band “Killer Hayseeds” performing at 8 p.m. Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon will sponsor a Chili Feed from 4-7 p.m.

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

The Arctic Plunge has continued to grow each year, with 2013 including 105 jumpers, with approximately 2,000 to 3,000 spectators.

Each jumper in the Arctic Plunge is asked to raise $100 that can be paid at the preregistration party at Captain’s Feb. 28 from 5-7 p.m.; from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Captain’s March 1; or online at Credit cards can be accepted for the jumper fee payment.

Approximately $46,000 was raised in 2013 to benefit local organizations that included: Cambridge Fire Department, Oak Grove Fire Department, Dalbo Fire Department, Isanti County Safety and Rescue, Children Come First, Isanti Senior Dining, Braham Food Shelf, Spirit River Food Shelf, Helping Hands Food Shelf, Long Lake Lutheran Church Food Shelf, Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, Isanti County Law Enforcement Association, University of Minnesota Army ROTC and Long Lake Improvement Association.

Diamond sponsors of this year’s event include 92 KQRS and Killebrew Old Fashioned Root Beer.

Lisa Miller and Terri Traen of KQRS will host this year’s plunge, along with Jim Lundeen from Killebrew Root Beer. Miller and Brian Zepp, also from KQRS, will attend the Vintage Races earlier that morning.

“I think the Arctic Plunge is a great way to get out and enjoy fun in the sun with friends and neighbors,” Miller said. “It’s been a long cold winter and having the chance to come out and play with the Vintage Snowmobile Races and the Arctic Plunge is great. And of course, the end result is the money donated for local charities. It’s a win-win.”

Miller enjoys spending time with her friends and neighbors on Long Lake.

“I love that this event was created out of a desire to do good in our community,” Miller said. “I’ve been involved, along with KQRS, since 2004 when it was about 400 people and a pair of speakers on the back of a pickup. We’ve come a long way. It’s fun to see the growth and enthusiasm of this event. It’s really a unique and powerful statement to the strength and commitment of our community.”

Brad Olson, vice president of the Arctic Plunge committee, noted that all proceeds benefit local organizations.

“The Arctic Plunge is a great family event, and the event is free for you to come out and watch,” Olson said. “We are fortunate to have loyal sponsor jumpers and volunteers. If your commitment is financial or your time, thank you very much. Without your support the Arctic Plunge would not have been so successful. The Arctic Plunge would like to thank the community for their continued support for this event.”

Miller encourages everyone to come out and support the Arctic Plunge events Friday and Saturday.

“The jumpers and sponsors are the rock stars of this event, and we  love that they show up each year and pledge their support,” Miller said. “For me personally, I always look forward to seeing what creative costumes people come up with. … I’m hoping for 37 and sunny; we’ve hit that 10 of the 11 years I’ve been involved, and it makes for a fantastic day. Either way, money is raised and a good time is had by all.”

For more information on the Arctic Plunge, visit Captain’s on Long Lake is located at 27821 Bay Shore Drive Northwest in Isanti.