5th Annual Polar Bear Plunge draws enthusiastic crowds
By David Manthos Chief Copy Editor
Basic human survival instincts imply that you should never wear a bikini outdoors in the dead of winter, never wear flip-flops right after a blizzard and never intentionally jump into an icy river. On Saturday, approximately 100 people, the majority of them University students, took their turn doing all three at Lewisburg's fifth annual Polar Bear Plunge.
Wearing everything from bikinis to a sombrero, participants tip-toed, ran, dove and splashed their way into the 34 degree river at the St. George Street Boat Ramp under the watchful eye of the Lewisburg Fire and Rescue Squad. With a 16-degree wind chill factor, participants had little to look forward to when they returned from the icy waters, but spirits were still high for the event.
"I'm not sure if I'm plunging or dipping," Katie Trojanowski '12 said. "I can't believe all these people that have come out."
Brothers from the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity proudly represented the Orange and Blue as they dove into the water, while other students assisted with registration and set-up for the event in sub-freezing conditions. "It's really cool to see the [University] community and the Lewisburg community come together like this," Shannon Horrigan '12 said.
The annual plunge benefits the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership and is a main feature of the Heart of Lewisburg Ice Festival. Besides the brave souls that plunged into the river, over 200 people watched from the shore as the more-adventurous souls entered the river.
Rescue squad members clad in cold water exposure suits stood guard over the area of the plunge, prepared to act swiftly in the event of an emergency. Though their skills were not needed, they were hardly the only ones dressed in unique outfits. Eccentric costumes included tutus and a Borat thong, to a group mimicking the Spanish running of the bulls in matching white shirts and pants, red scarves and chanting "Olé!" all the way into the river.
Not everyone emerged completely soaked, but Scott Schuler '10 was one that bravely went all the way into the water. "I've been training all year for this," Schuler said.
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