LEWISBURG — Over 200 brave souls, boosted by an unusually warming sun and a large crowd of onlookers, entered the 31-degree Susquehanna River Saturday for the 10th Annual Polar Bear Plunge in Lewisburg.
Always a fun event with a large turnout, Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner commented that this is the highlight of the ice festival weekend and it is good to see the community use the river as an asset. The annual dip into the icy Susquehanna River, sponsored by the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership, raised funds in support of the Ice Festival Benefit, according to Linda Sterling, director of the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership.
Among the many participants were various groups of fundraisers to include the RiverWoods Ice Angels and the Lewisburg Dragon Mamas. People came from all over eastern Pennsylvania came to swim in the frigid river or watch the fun as groups excitedly ran into and out of the river one by one.
Blair Digan, Miss Union County West End Fair Queen, took the plunge with her queen’s crown and sash in support of the “fund and fun” raiser. All types of costumes and personalities participated to include swimmers dressed as a polar bear, superheroes and clowns.
The Union County Emergency Squad prepared the river entry by cutting through the river’s ice blanket which was 12 inches thick in places. Large squares of ice lay on either side of the river opening. The Union County Emergency Squad also provided the safety personnel in the water with backup services provided by the William Cameron Engine Company and West End Ambulance.
John Everett, of the Riverwood Ice Angels, the first group to enter the water, commented on how much he enjoyed the event. There was a wide variety of looks and comments from swimmers as they entered and exited the icy water.
When asked how the plunge was, one swimmer remarked: “Boy, it is really, really cold.”