Dozens of area residents will experience the thrill of the chill next month when they take a plunge into Weevil Pond to raise money for Special Olympics.

The Area 12 Special Olympics Polar Plunge will take place on Saturday, February 18 at Weevil Pond on the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. and the plunge at 11:30 a.m.

Participants are asked to get donations of at least $50 from friends, relatives and co-workers in exchange for taking the plunge. As an incentive, participants receive gifts such as shirts, LED flashlights, bags, beach towels, and insulated picnic baskets — depending on how much they raise.

Organizers also have a costume contest planned, with prizes awarded to the individual and the team with the best costume; and Guerrilla Martial Arts & Fitness will sponsor a chili dinner with proceeds benefiting Special Olympics.

This is the third year Area 12 Special Olympics has conducted the fundraiser, according to Area 12 Special Olympics director Karen Caldwell, who along with her husband Jason, will take a 24 “super” plunges every hour on the hour beginning at 11 a.m. on February 17 and continuing until the Polar Plunge begins the following day.

The Caldwells, who did the Super Plunge last year and raised $4,000 between the two of them, admit that you have to be insane to take routine plunges in the frigid water late at night when the temperature plummets.

“The frigid water felt like needles piercing the skin,” Karen Caldwell said, “but we’re insane enough to do it again.”

She hopes the event will raise at least $10,000 this year through the Polar Plunge, the Super Plunge and the chilli dinner.

For more information call Karen Caldwell at 870-723-2417 or Ked Donham at 870-723-2539