Clad in bikinis, swimming trunks and assorted costumes, including the entire cast of The Avengers, hundreds began the new year with a splash into Lake George at Million Dollar Beach this afternoon, Jan. 1.
According to a spokesperson for Duffy’s Tavern, the registration site, about 1,200 plungers signed up for the annual event.
The million dollars worth of sand on Million Dollar Beach was buried beneath a foot of snow, and the air was a biting 30 degrees, but the beach was as crowded as a day in August.
A Zumba workout, led by Lisa Camp, preceded the plunge, with a Latin rhythm and two-dozen dancers taking over the patio that, in the summer, is home to umbrella-topped picnic tables and overheated tourists.
The plunge was broken into three waves, with the first beginning at 1 p.m. Kierstyn Natter, a SUNY Potsdam student from Indian Lake, joined her friends in the lake with the second wave. “It sounded like fun,” she said, when asked what prompted her to participate, “but I won’t do it next year. It was fun, but a little too cold.”
The plunge was moved from its usual location at Shepard Park because plastic mats, weighed down with rebar, are set up in the waters along Shepard Park as part of the Invasive Asian Clam Elimination Project.
The Lake George Winter Carnival sponsors the event, which began in 1973 with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. Registration is free, but with a $10 donation plungers receive an official long-sleeved Polar Plunge t-shirt. Money raised is used to fund Lake George Winter Carnival events and some is donated to local food pantries. The Lake George Winter Carnival begins this year with opening ceremonies on Feb. 2. The Carnival runs every weekend through February.