Conditions were just about perfect for a dip in Skaneateles Lake on Saturday, January 26th, as the Skaneateles Polar Bear Club held their Annual Plunge as part of the 2019 Winterfest celebration out on by the Skaneateles Sunrise Rotary Club.
Temperatures were in the teens, the wind-chill in single digits, but sunshine and a beautiful blue sky helped draw a big crowd to the event, a fundraiser for the Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department (SFD), the Skaneateles Ambulance Volunteer Emergency Services (SAVES), and the Skaneateles Education Foundation.
A hearty crew of volunteers, including local Boy Scouts and members of the Polar Bear Club, helped to prepare the Plunge location by cutting through foot-thick ice and helping clear the pieces at boat ramp adjacent to the Town Gazebo.
Members of the Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department donned their dry suits and helped not only to move the final pieces of ice, but to help ensure the safety of the spectators and participants. As if but to underscore the importance of our local first responders, the SFD and SAVES were called into action barely an hour before the start of the plunge when an event volunteer suffered a medical emergency, and fell into the icy water. Bystanders helped pull the individual from the water along with members of the SFD who had arrived not a minute earlier to help with Plunge preparations. Firefighters and EMS from SAVES treated the individual on scene, who was quickly, and safely removed from the ice to the warmth of a waiting ambulance. It is my understanding the individual is o.k., and is recovering.
While there were fewer participants than year’s past, there was no shortage of enthusiasm, creativity, and style. From Ninja Turtles, to The Pink Ladies, good humor and a good cause ruled the day.