A couple runs for their warm clothing after swimming for several minutes Tuesday Jan. 1 in Lake George annual New Year’s Day Polar Plunge. Braving bitter cold and gusty wind, more than 1,000 people in swimming suits, shorts, bikinis — and some in bizarre costumes — charged into the frigid waters in the time-honored ritual.
Photo by Thom Randall.
continued “I thought I’d do this better-dressed this year,” Nikollaj said, pouring water out of his top hat onto the snow on Million-Dollar Beach.
Less formally garbed was Tim Jones of Saratoga, dressed only in a small red-and-green Christmas-themed jockstrap that his friend Sue gave him.
“I feel under-dressed,” he said, emerging from the waters with his skin turning pink in the gusty frigid wind as he walked up the beach to put on some clothes. “I just thought I’d try a new challenge — and it wasn’t that bad.”
Bikinis, jock-straps, swimming briefs and formal suits weren’t the only swimwear. Many plungers donned costumes — there was an array of partyers dressed as superheroes. One group of revelers were outfitted as Avengers comic-book characters. Chris Folmsbee of Latham, costumed as Iron Man, lead his half-dozen friends into the waters without hesitation: they’ve launched each new year like this for four years straight. In past years they were dressed as ghost busters, pirates and Braveheart characters.
Emerging from underwater, Folmsbee said the swim was an invigorating tonic to start off 2013.
“If we punish ourselves today with this polar plunge, we’ll feel excellent tomorrow,” he said.
Behind Folmsbee was a large group of several dozen adults were on the beach, performing mass cheer routines. Dressed in red T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “End Polio Now,” they were representing Rotary Clubs from the Capital Region, raising awareness of Rotary International’s worldwide campaign to finally eradicate a persistent crippling disease, particularly among children. The group provides polio vaccine to many thousands of youngsters in third-world countries.
Poised to take a plunge in T-shirts and shorts, the group represented people ranging in age from their teens to their 80s.
Ann Cargile of Ballston Lake, 67, Past Rotary District Governor, said the group was committed to their cause.