Hundreds Take the Polar Plunge
700 people took an icy dip in Lake Michigan for the annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge in Jacksonport. Video by nbc26.comvideo
JACKSONPORT, WI- It was a frigid start to the new year for hundreds of people in Door County. In Jacksonport 700 people took the annual polar plunge into Lake Michigan. Organizers say it's one of the biggest in the country.
The polar plunge is off to a freezing cold start. Hundreds, eager to set foot into Lake Michigan.
Many wearing just a swimsuit.
"This is a great way to the new year!" said plunger, Annika Pearson.
Some as quick to get in as they are to get out. First time plungers say not even the adrenaline rush can prepare you for the shock of cold!
"So cold to the point where I feel good because I just can't feel anything! I'm pretty numb!" said first time plunger, Brian Osmond.
But many come back for that feeling each year.
"We live in Wisconsin...This is just a cold place on January first but you have to just embrace the cold" said Mike Heft, who is plunging for his seventh year.
Oganizers use a long thermometer to get the temperature of the water and for the plunge, it read about 32 degrees.
The plunge started in 1986 with just one brave soul.
"My son was 13 years old when he went in all by himself" said Joe Jarosh, with the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club.
Twenty seven years later it's one of the biggest polar plunges in the country and it's still run by the same family.
"Between us and the fire department we work very hard to make it a safe and successful event" said Jarosh.
There's no registration fee. Proceeds from selling t-shirts go to the local fire department.
Some plungers are ready to do it all again in 2014!
"Crazy but I love doing it"said Heft.