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More than a thousand Alaskans took part in a polar plunge fundraiser at Goose Lake, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Anchorage, Alaska. The plunge was a benefit for Special Olympics Alaska, and has raised more than $2 million for the organization in the eight years it has been held. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Hundreds of Alaskans dove into 32-degree water during an annual polar plunge event


More than a thousand people dressed up in costumes or stripped down to barely anything Saturday to take part in a polar plunge to benefit Special Olympics Alaska. 

Ice was cut from a portion of Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska, so plungers would have plenty of room to execute their favorite dives. 

Some plungers went for the cannonball, while others inched more timidly into the frigid water. 

We're not from here, so we wanted to do the Alaskan experience, and this is just a part of it.
Brittany Petrikos

"It's for a great cause," said David Aromin, a Philadelphia-native. "I'm new to Alaska, and this is one way to be baptized." 

Kat Bant of New York and Brittany Petrikos of Ohio said the polar plunge "was lots of fun" and they were excited to experience it despite the cold. 

The Special Olympics Alaska fundraiser brought in more than $300,000 this year. 

Special Olympics Alaska president Jim Balamaci told reporters the event has raised more than $2 million since it became an annual event eight years ago. He also noted that 5,000 people have taken the plunge since the first event. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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