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Polar Bear Plunge looking less polar for New Year’s Day 2019
LCKC fundraiser set for Jan. 1
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Billy Hulsey, of Mount Airy, dons a Venetian mask Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, while waiting in line to take the plunge into Lake Lanier during the 20th annual Polar Bear Plunge at the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club. - photo by Scott Rogers

UPDATE: Event postponed due to heavy rains. This story will be updated when a new date is set.

Polar Bear Plunge at Lake Lanier is promising to be a lot less polar this New Year’s Day.

With high temperatures in the upper 50s on Tuesday, Jan. 1, the  Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club fundraising is looking to be much more tolerable this year than 2018 — when Hall County was hit with a cold snap sending temperatures below freezing for the plunge into the lake.

Still, more than 30 brave souls jumped this year, including 74-year-old Jim Isler, who was the oldest jumper last year, and Tom Diaz, who came dressed as a very appropriate emperor penguin, winning him “best costume” during the fundraiser.

For the event this coming New Year’s Day at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park, organizers are hoping for about 75 people to attend given the warmer weather, accoridng to Blair Hickerson, incoming president of LCKC.

Polar Bear Plunge

When: Noon, New Year’s Day

Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Park (boathouse side), 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville

How much: $30 per person or $90 for family of four

More info:

Hickerson is taking over from outgoing president Jason Peck.

“It should be night and day weather-wise,” Hickerson said of the 2019 plunge.

People interested in the event can register online through Dec. 31 or sign up at the event beginning 10:45 a.m. Jan. 1. Plunges begin at noon.

Registration costs $30 per individual or $90 for a family of four.

LCKC plans to give out the same suite of honors this year. Last year’s winners included:

  • Best Jump: Joshua Burchardt

  • Best Splash: Cody Hicks

  • Best Costume: Tom Diaz

  • Oldest Jumper: James Isler

  • Youngest Jumper: James Hughes

  • Most Dedicated Jumper: George Wangeman

Jumpers who register early online have first dibs on T-shirts that are included with the price of the ticket, according to Hickerson. If the club runs out, additional T-shirts will be ordered.

Chili, sweets, hot beverages and, most importantly, hot showers are being provided by LCKC.

The fundraiser supports LCKC programs throughout the year. The club’s first race of 2019, the Lula Bridge race, comes in March.

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Tom Diaz, of Atlanta, climbs from Lake Lanier Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, following his plunge into the cold waters at the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club as he participates in the 20th annual Polar Bear Plunge. - photo by Scott Rogers
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