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Warm up to 2013 with an icy plunge into Lake Lanier
Brave souls greet the new year in annual Polar Bear Swim
Jessica Gibbins, 16, quickly exits the water while sister Jolene, 7, waits during the 2012 Polar Bear Swim at the Olympic venue on Clarks Bridge Road in Gainesville.

Polar Bear Swim

When: 2 p.m. Jan. 1

Where: Olympic Tower, Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville

How much: $25 individual, $50 family of four, free to watch

More info:

What better way to shake off the old year and warm up to the new year than by jumping in a frigid lake?

The Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club will hold its 16th annual Polar Bear Swim at 2 p.m. Tuesday, New Year’s Day, at the Olympic venue on Clarks Bridge Road in Gainesville.

Ticket are $25 per individual jumper or $50 for a family of four.

The annual fundraiser goes to help the club’s programs and activities throughout the year.

This year, 100 to 200 brave jumpers are expected to take to the water. A lifeguard will be present.

While the sun should be shining, the high for Tuesday is expected to be in the mid 40s.

Chris Potter, director of the Polar Bear Swim, said participants shouldn’t expect the water to be too pleasant.

“It is alarmingly cold,” Potter said with a chuckle. “It’s just a fun event and then you get out of the water as fast as you can.”

As in previous years, the event will have a costume contest and a biggest and best jump contest.

Once swimmers manage to pull their shivering bodies out of the water, they’ll get to warm up in the club with a bowl of chili and a hot drink.

This will be the first time the event will also include a chili cook-off. Eight to 10 competing cooks will be providing bowls of chili to participants.

“We’ll have a panel of judges but everyone will get to eat the chili,” Potter said.

If the food and drink aren’t enough to take out the cold, participants can enjoy a relaxing soak in a hot tub.

And to show off their bravery, every jumper will be given a T-shirt.

Cowards and those who just aren’t into the idea of jumping in a cold lake are invited to come watch.

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