The low water levels last year forced the cancellation of the annual Polar Bear Plunge on Lake Lanier, but that won't be the case on this New Year's Day.
Jason Peck is the incoming president for the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club (LCKC), the group that sponsors the Polar Bear Plunge each year, and he said in a recent interview with AccessWDUN that everything is a go for Monday's event at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park on Clarks Bridge Road in Gainesville.
"We've had our experts out there around our docks, around the venue and we have a good location for everyone to jump in a safe environment," Peck said.
Participants in the New Year's Day event have the opportunity to jump into the chilly waters of Lake Lanier individually, or as a team. The 2018 event marks the 20th year for the Polar Bear Plunge.
"We're going to have awards...we have the best jump award, we have the youngest jumper, the oldest, the biggest splash...you name it, we've got it," Peck said.
He said jumpers are encouraged to dress in costume to add to the fun of the event. For those who don't think they can brave the cold, Peck said they can really use some volunteer help with the event.
This year's event promises to be one of the coldest ever. Not only will the water in the lake be cold - likely in the low to mid 50 degree range - but so will the winter air. The current forecast calls for the high temperature on New Year's Day to be only in the mid 30s.
"If you look at the weather pattern and what they're projecting on Jan. 1, we're going to have a frigid, cold day," Peck said. "It'll be a true Polar Bear Plunge in my opinion."
Volunteers will be on standby to help jumpers out of the chilly water and into the boathouse for a quick warm-up with chili and hot drinks.
Peck points out the Polar Bear Plunge is a fundraiser for LCKC.
"This is a great event to raise money, but also raise awareness," Peck said, noting that the LCKC sprint canoe/kayak team won the national championship in 2017, a feat the club has attained 11 times in its history. "They worked hard all year long in 2016 to prepare for the 2017 national championship and we brought home the title."
To find out more about the event, log on to the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club (LCKC) website. On site registration begins at 10:45 on New Year's Day. The official plunge starts at noon.