PINE CREEK -- A popular winter rite of passage has once again taken place in Schuylkill County.
The Fourth Annual Polar Bear Plunge was held in Pine Creek and it’s to benefit the local trout nursery.
It’s not clear whether these were shouts of joys or screams of pure agony, but regardless, they were all going in for an icy dip.
“Cold, very cold,” said Mike Sokoloski of Ashland.
It was the Fourth Annual Pine Creek Polar Bear Plunge and dozens of people came out to test their wits, their strength and their state of mind.
“Little nervous, especially because you just can’t jump in, you got to run in,” said Michael Pugliese of Elysburg.
“Yeah, I’m scared, I’m scared, I think it’s going to be awful,” said Grace Pugliese of Elysburg. “But I already got the t-shirt and I don’t want to have to shamefully give back the shirt so I’m in it now.”
For many this was a first time taking the big dunk and some say it’s fitting to do something so bold on New Year’s Day.
“I figured now’s the opportunity to do it,” said Kevin Furness of Pottsville. “As the older I get I’m not going to want to do it so I figured now’s the time, try something new for the New Year.”
“This is something I always wanted to do so I called my daughter and let’s go and do it,” said Patti White of Pine Grove.
Some were honest about their fears; others went with bravado.
“Am I crazy, yes, I am insane,” said Charity Snyder of Valley View, who came in her bikini. “I don’t know, I just felt like I wanted to earn that t-shirt.”
And this plunge isn’t just about thrills and chills; it’s the largest fundraiser for the Pine Creek Trout Nursery, which keeps the creek stocked with fish.
“Last year we raised almost $2,800 for it and our feed bill alone is almost $4,000, but this is very important, without this it would tough,” said Jim Reed, one of the nursery’s five volunteers and the founder of the plunge.
A good deed done and a goal achieved.
“On the bucket list, that’s one for the bucket list,” said Sokoloski.