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Taking The Plunge On New Year’s Day

HEGINS TOWNSHIP — It was perfect weather for polar bears, or for wearing a polar bear costume, but it was pretty darn chilly for the dozens of folks who jumped into Pine Creek in Schuylkill County.

Some came for bragging rights. Some came for the thrill. And for others, it was plain old peer pressure.

“Feels like jumping in a bath of ice!”

But whatever the reason, more than 100 people gathered in Valley View Park near Hegins bracing themselves for the fifth annual Polar Bear Plunge.

For 13-year-old Maura Olley it was her first New Year’s Day dip.

“It just sounded fun!”

Maybe it’s the sight of a polar bear paddling in a raft but something about the event brings out people’s wild side: burly guys in bikinis, a fellow in a tutu and one dapper dude even wore a suit!

“I figure we are all dressing up, so I may as well go all out with it, right?” said Ryan McCormick of Shamokin.

Experienced plungers say the key to survival is having something warm to get into when you get out of the water. And not a moment too soon for folks shivering in swimsuits.

Proceeds of the event go to stock the stream with trout in the spring which right now feels a long way away

“My legs are numb. I can’t walk. I feel like I am just going to pass over,” said Josh Chacon of Valley View.

“It was freezing cold today. I think this was the coldest ever. We have done this other years, the last four years, but this was the coldest, I think,” said Beth Hunsinger of Ashland.

But whether they can’t wait to do it again, or can’t wait to get warm, they certainly started 2014 with a splash.



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