WATCH: Jimmy Fallon takes dip in chilly Lake Michigan for charity – National
“The Tonight Show” host took the plunge dressed in a suit and tie – then screamed and darted out of the water with a shocked expression on his face.
Fallon was making good on his promise to join Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago’s annual Polar Plunge if Emanuel would appear on his show.
Emanuel jumped in first, wearing shorts and a Chicago Public Library T-shirt.
Both were soaked from head to toe as they fled the water to cheers from a large crowd that had gathered on the Chicago lakefront to watch.
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A group of bagpipers provided the soundtrack for their rapid dash into the 32-degree water.
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The annual event draws several thousand hearty plungers to raise money for Special Olympics Chicago. Scores of people dressed in parkas and polar bear outfits, some carrying signs, gathered along the lakefront early, hoping to catch a glimpse of Fallon.
It was 10 degrees an hour before the plunge, and Chicago firefighters in red wetsuits waded in before the waves of brave souls, throwing chunks of ice out of the area. Emanuel – dressed in gray Nike sweatpants, a red sweatshirt and an orange hat, sipping on a cup of coffee – talked to reporters about an hour before the plunge. He was joined by Detroit Lions defensive lineman and former Bears player Israel Idonije.
Emanuel got emotional as he talked about meeting the mother of a special needs child in a Chicago grocery store on Saturday, saying she was grateful for his participation in the event. He said they cried and hugged. “There are parents out there, there are children out there who have something they can give,” he said.
Special Olympics Chicago President Jen Kramer credits Fallon and Emanuel with attracting more than 3,000 people for the run into the lake from the city’s North Avenue beach. That’s more than ever. Last year 2,300 people did it.
Emanuel said last summer that if city’s children read 2 million books as part of a Chicago Public Library program called “Rahm’s Readers,” he’d jump in the lake.
When Emanuel heard Fallon wanted him to appear on the late-night show that he took over in February from longtime host Jay Leno, the mayor called the comedian and challenged him to join in the plunge.
©2014The Canadian Press
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