Last Polar Dip returns for 15th year at Lake Anne Plaza

The final polar dip returns to Reston next month (courtesy David Madison Photography)

Camp Sunshine’s 15th polar dip — Freezin’ for a Reason — will return to Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza on Feb. 11 for a final hurrah.

Beginning at noon, spectators will gather to watch registered participants plunge into the lake — or take a “chicken dip” with just toes — to raise funds for Camp Sunshine, a nonprofit that organizes retreats for families who have kids with life-threatening illnesses.

“The Virginia Polar Dip has a unique aspect that adds to the fun,” Gail Toth, event founder and organizer, said. “We have a one-hour succession of splashes that brings plenty of cheers and laughter from the crowd of spectators.”

The event is the final dip after Toth and the team anticipate reaching their fundraising goal. Organizers hope to raise $100,000 for the charity in an effort to reach a $1 million target set when the event began in 2008.

Online event registration is open. On-site registration begins at noon on the day of the event, followed by the beginning of the polar dip at 2 p.m.

The fundraising model encourages registered participants to raise or donate a minimum of $100 to plunge into the frigid waters of the lake. Participants receive an event t-shirt.

The event was started by the Toth family, who took part in Camp Sunshine in 1996 when their 3-year-old daughter was a cancer patient. The family brought the event to Virginia to support other local families after they took part in a dip in New Jersey.

The inaugural Virginia event in 2008 brought 2,199 dippers to the lake.

Event organizers note that Reston Association does not maintain the lake for swimming standards. Typically, swimming is not allowed in Lake Anne.

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