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Hundreds ring in the New Year in chilly Lake Michigan

Posted: 7:35 PM, Jan 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-02 04:41:47Z
polar plunge Cropped.jpg

The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club held its 33rd plunge on New Year's Day.

"It started in 1986 with one swimmer, me. And it's grown now to hundreds," said J.R. Jarosh, the founder of Jacksonport Polar Bear Club.

The nearly 500 swimmers participating in the plunge jumped into Lake Michigan after organizers announced it was only 32 degrees.

Jarosh said the club is one of the biggest in the country.

"Everybody's got a fun story to tell," said Jarosh, "When we're out in the water, everybody's helping each other out, and really it's an exuberant way to start the New Year."

Some chill-seekers were pros like J.R., while others were plunging for the first time.

"I just want to do fun crazy stuff, and this is fun. This is what Door County is all about. This is the energy that this place brings, and I want to be part of it," said Jack Bloom who was participating for the first time.

It was all smiles with chattering teeth after the plunge.