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Dec. 11, 2017
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The polar bears return; plunge is back in 2018

By Jane Harrison
 
The chill is on for 2018. Polar bears will return to Lake Lanier Olympic Park Jan. 1 to start the new year off fresh and cold in the Polar Bear Plunge. The annual rite is back after a low lake last year muddied the landing site where celebrants traditionally leap into Lake Lanier.
 
As of late November, with Lanier’s level down about five feet from winter full pool, the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club hoped to line up participants on the docks behind the boathouse. “If lake levels continue to drop, we may move the location to the tower side,” said Tracy Barth, LCKC president. Much to the dismay, or relief, of traditional jumpers, LCKC cancelled the event in January 2017 when a10-foot deficit made taking a dip behind the boathouse or Olympic channel, the deepest accessible water at LLOP, a bit of a risk.
 
Aware that the necessity of breaking the 20-plus year tradition may have broken the momentum (or promoted a warmer, fuzzier, and drier way for the white bears to welcome the new year), LCKC is daring folks to take the plunge in 2018. “We would love to see this event become a more prominent community event,” Barth said. “We encourage plungers to issue challenges to community service groups, government officials, businesses, schools, etc. Polar Bear, if you dare!”
 
“We are enlisting the help of our members, news outlets, social media, and friends of the club to help spread the word that we are back in business. Our target is to attract at least 100 plungers with the goal of surpassing this.”
 
Those who brave the challenge can warm up with showers on the boathouse side, if the water level holds, or outdoor heaters on the tower side. A festive New Year’s lunch of hot chili, warm drinks, and everybody’s favorite – brownies – will warm the body and soul during the award ceremony at the boathouse. Special honors will be presented for the best costume, best splash, best jump, oldest polar bear, and youngest polar bear.
 
Pre-registered participants are guaranteed a commemorative t-shirt in their size and extra shirts will be on hand for folks who register the day of the event. Additional sizes will be ordered if needed.

Info: www.lckc.org.

Posted online 12/1/17
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