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Hundreds begin 2014 with an icy plunge into Lake George

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With the air temperature a frigid 16 degrees and the water temperature a balmy 35, it seems perfectly logical that more than 900 swimmers would strip down to bathing suits and run into Lake George this New Year’s Day. The Lake George Polar Plunge, a Jan. 1 tradition more than four decades old, marks the start of the year and the Lake George Winter Carnival season.

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Nearly 1,000 plungers and several 100 spectators packed Shepard Park early this afternoon to witness the plunges, three waves in all, which began at 1 p.m. Several participants added to the carnival atmosphere with colorful costumes including Superman, The Lone Ranger, the Abominable Snowman and a group outfitted as a wedding party.

Participation in the annual plunge is free, although a $10 donation buys the plunger an official 2014 Polar Plunge long-sleeved t-shirt. Funds raised at the event help support the Lake George Winter Carnival events. The Carnival Committee donates a portion of proceeds to local food pantries.

The 53rd annual Lake George Winter Carnival kicks off with opening Ceremonies on Feb. 1 in Shepard Park on Canada Street. The Carnival continues each weekend through February with races on the ice (weather permitting), games, cook-offs, fireworks and more plunges into the lake.

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