Hundreds dip into icy Lake George for annual charity plunge

January 01, 2018 06:22 PM

LAKE GEORGE - It's just another day at the beach. Sunny skies, zero degrees.

Swimming conditions were not exactly ideal for the annual polar plunge. It was so cold that they had to break the ice, chip it away and move it out of the way so the plungers had some open water to wade into.

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This was a first, said Linda Duffy who has been organizing the event for years. "No. We've never been iced up since I've been holding it."

The deep freeze couldn't keep them from going in. EMTs and sheriff's officers stationed near by.

"I think we've taken the safety precautions that we need to take," Duffy said.

"I want to rejuvenate myself for the year. And then my adrenaline will flow for the rest of the year," said Oscar Turnpin of Boston, before venturing into the freezing water.

For Ariel Santiago of Amsterdam, it's to raise awareness.

"Every year I have a different theme. This year it's autism," Santiago said as he removed some of his costume covered with colorful puzzle pieces.

Santiago led the first wave. Splashing around and thanking the divers who were stationed in the water to help anyone who might need it.

Back on shore, the water freezing on his bare shoulders, Santiago said, "I feel like I just ate a peppermint patty. I love it."

Each plunger paid $10 for the right to go in. The money raised goes to the fire departments who were helping out and Shriners Children's Hospitals.

"I can't remember a colder winter carnival or Lake George Polar Plunge," said Gaylord Hawley, a Lake George resident and a member of the Oriental Shriners.

As Matt Manning of Scotia came out of the water, he couldn't believe some of his buddies ditched him this year.
Manning planned to tell his friends, "You missed out because it's not so bad." When asked if he was serious, Manning said no, "It's horrible."

But not too horrible to keep him and hundreds of others from doing it again next year.


Mark Mulholland

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