By Ken Smith/Provided by Ithaca Polar Plunge organizers.

ITHACA — Hundreds of people are poised to take the icy plunge Saturday in Cayuga Lake for the fourth annual Ithaca Polar Plunge for Special Olympics New York.

While participants are getting ready to take the plunge, a local athlete has been competing in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games — and with success. Kinsey Henry, 17, of Groton, headed to Austria earlier this month to compete in snowshoeing.

On Wednesday, Cassandra Rucker, director of development for Special Olympics New York, said Henry will be coming home with two silver medals.

Henry participates in the polar plunge every year but will miss it this year since she won’t return until Sunday.

There are more than 460 participants pre-registered for the polar plunge so far, which will support 68,547 athletes of Special Olympics New York.

This year’s teams in Ithaca include NYS Park Police, 5K Chili, Team Maguire, Bangs Ambulance, Phi Sigma Kappa, Cornell CCE, Bella’s Buddies, Ithaca Police Department, NYSP “Troop C-Zone 3” and CSEA Polar Peeps.

Related: Young Groton native makes her way to Austria for Special Olympics Winter Games

Last year, 731 participants raised $55,318 for Special Olympics New York, according to a news release from Special Olympics New York.

Registration and fundraising is still open. Visit for more information.

Event details

When: Registration and check-in from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Plunge at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 25

Where: Taughannock Falls State Park, 1740 Taughannock Blvd., Trumansburg

Featured image is by Ken Smith and republished with permission from Ithaca Polar Bear Plunge organizers in 2016.  

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.