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Bring in the new year with adventure
Group celebrates with a leap into the lake
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13th Annual Polar Bear Swim
When: 2-4 p.m. Friday, registration starts at
1 p.m.
Where: Lanier Olympic Venue at Clark’s Bridge Park
Cost: $25

Do you intend to be more adventurous in 2010? Are you going to take new leaps of faith?

Start the new year on the right foot by taking the plunge in Lake Lanier on Friday for the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club’s 13th Annual Polar Bear Swim.

Although the National Weather Service forecasts a high of 42 degrees on Friday, Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club President Tim Watson is expecting dozens of adults and kids to turn out for the annual Jan. 1 dip. The fundraiser benefits the club and aims to draw more people to the Lanier Olympic venue at Clarks Bridge Park.

“It’s a clean, fresh, cold start to a new year,” Watson said.

The 2 p.m. event is open to kids and adults of all ages. For $25, jumpers get two tries to make a big icy splash, followed by a hot tub soaking, a hot shower, hot chocolate and a hot bowl of chili. Watson said paramedics will be on site.

The youngest and oldest jumpers will take home prizes, as well as those who sport the best costumes and the most creative dives.

Those who brave the polar bear swim in style could win a massage, a kayak lesson with a professional or a free moonlight paddle on the lake in warm weather, Watson said.

Participants will be glad to know the event will be held at the original boat house location where hot showers are close by, he said.

“This year is really wonderful because of the lake returning to full pool,” he said. “We’re excited about having the event behind the boat house. The last three years, because of the low water, it has been on the tower side across the street.”

This year’s costume winners were a used Christmas tree, a cinder block and a Christmas present trio, Watson said.

More than 70 people, including veteran jumper Gainesville City Councilman George Wangemann, participated in the dive on Jan. 1 in 48-degree weather.

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