Photos: Lady Gaga And Al Roker Jumped In The Lake At 2016's Polar Plunge
By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 6, 2016 10:12PM
For the second year in a row, Lady Gaga jumped in wintry Lake Michigan as part of the Chicago Polar Plunge.
Other stars, including Today Show weather anchor Al Roker and Lady Gaga’s fiancé, Chicago Fire star Taylor Kinney, were among the roughly 6,000 people who dunked themselves in the lake at North Avenue Beach Sunday to benefit the Special Olympics’ athletic programs.
Lady Gaga rode into the water on Kinney's back. They were also joined by other members of the casts of Chicago Fire and Chicago Med. Roker was joined by his colleague Dyler Dreyer, and NBC national correspondent Tamron Hall, wearing a Walter Payton jersey. Quinton Aaron, from the popular movie the Blind Side, gave a thumbs up to the crowd as the 6-foot-8-inch actor emerged from the water. Many teams had themes; there was a Roto-Rooter team dressed as plumbers, '80s wrestling stars, more than a few Star Wars characters, a Pope, a penguin, Waldo and Luchador wrestlers. A team even brought a basketball hoop and played a mini game in the water.
Above are some photos from the 16th annual Plunge. For a live-action supplement, you can also watch Lady Gaga and Kinney take the plunge, to the tune of what sounds like bagpipes(?), in this Vine:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel made an appearance at the 16th annual Plunge, too. He didn’t jump in the lake himself himself, but “fist-bumped a few spectators in his bone-dry clothes on his way out,” the Tribune reports.
He then Tweeted about his experience:
High-profile cameos aside, the event is expected to be a fundraising success. Last year, the Plunge raised more than $1 million for the Special Olympics and had 4,200 participants, the Tribune reports; this year, with roughly 6,000 participants, is likely to raise even more.
This is especially noteworthy giving the Plunge's humble beginnings. It started in 2000, with just 40 participants, according to NBC, but it has since snowballed into the phenomenon it is today. (In recent years, it attracted stars like Jimmy Fallon and Vince Vaughn—in a Blackhawks jersey, no less.)
And though the high Sunday was a not-very-polar 50 degrees, global warming has not yet turned the Chicago Polar Plunge into the Chicago Normal Plunge. The lake was an inhospitable 36 degrees Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
Rob Hart contributed reporting