Swimmers who braved the frigid waters of Lake George on New Years Day 2013 head for the beach seconds after they participated in the traditional 'first-day' Lake George Polar Plunge rite.
To the pretenders and rookies showing up for the annual New Year’s Day Lake George Polar Plunge, take note: it’s likely to be colder this year than it has been for decades.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a low temperature on New Years Eve of 3 degrees Farenheit, and 19 degrees as a high for New Year’s Day.
The twenty-somethings seeking to impress their friends, those who indulge in “liquid courage” or rely merely on bravado to approach the waters — watch out, event organizer Linda Duffy said with a grin this week.
“We’ll have real polar plungers this year — there won’t be any sissies taking a swim,” she said.
In recent years, between 1,000 and 1,500 swimmers have participated in the Polar Plunge. Lat year, the plunge was relocated from Shepard Park Beach to Million Dollar Beach, because mats had been placed on the beach to kill the spread of Asian Clams, an invasive nuisance species.
This years, with the both the mats and clams gone, the event has returned to its traditional site, Shepard Park Beach.
Each year, the event is a frigid frolic — including dozens of family and fraternities groups, many wearing zany, creative and fanciful attire. Many take the plunge while balancing tumblers of beer.
This year, the celebratory plunge is set to occur on Wednesday Jan. 1 in several waves — the first at 1 p.m., the second at 2 p.m. and the third at 2:30 p.m. if there are enough to brave the single-digit weather that’s expected.
Registration starts at 10 a.m. that day at Duffy’s Tavern on Amherst St.
New this year is advance registration, which Linda Duffy said was established so plungers can avoid standing in line for up to an hour, as they have in recent years. Advance registration is set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 31 at Duffy’s Tavern.
Registration is technically free, but most plungers opt to pay a donation of $10 and receive a Polar Plunge certificate and a commemorative long-sleeved T-shirt in return. A portion of the proceeds goes to fund the Lake George Village food pantry. Most of the proceeds fund the administration of Laske George Winter Carnival, which is offered at no charge to the pubic.
Immediately following the New Year’s Day polar plunge, a post-swim party will be held at Duffy’s Tavern, featuring music by the Jet Crash Billy band. Prior to the plunge, at 12:30 p.m., a mass zumba dance will be occurring on the beach. Details are available at : www.lakegeorgewintercarnival.com
All plungers are urged to bring beach shoes for the plunge, plus warm footwear, towel andwarm clothing or robe to take the chill off when exiting the water, Duffy said.
“Our polar plungers always have a blast,” she said. “And this cold weather will really test the commitment of our New Year’s Day swimmers — and determine whether they are real polar bears or not!”