- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Special Olympics Maryland is rescheduling its annual Polar Bear Plunge, which was canceled over the weekend because of high winds and below-freezing temperatures.

Officials say they are rescheduling for March 8 with a plunge-only event without entertainment. It will be held a few days after the plunge’s annual Cool School Challenge. More than 7,000 people had signed up to take a dip in the Chesapeake Bay to raise money for the Special Olympics, but organizers decided it wasn’t safe to hold the event Saturday.

Organizers are rescheduling to give participants a chance to participate in the yearly event, spokesman Jason Schriml said. They expect about 5,000 people to attend the event in March.

“We had a lot of disappointed plungers out there,” he said. “We still want to honor all the hard work they did fundraising.”

The plunge started in 1997. It is an annual fundraiser for Special Olympics Maryland, which provides training, coaches and competition opportunities for 6,500 of the 90,000 intellectually challenged youth and adults in the state.

In 18 years, Schriml said organizers have never rescheduled the plunge, but they will incorporate that possibility into planning for next year.

“When it comes to weather, you need to have a plan B and C,” he said.

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