It was warmer than most years as more than 600 people jumped into Clear Lake Sunday for the annual Polar Bear Club event to raise funds for two different charities, Make-a-Wish and Toys for Tots.
On a day that typically sees a high temperature right around the freezing mark, and a lake that has a layer of ice on it, swimmers were able to enjoy a 55-degree day and warmer-than-typical lake water.
Lori Schade was part of a local restaurant’s Polar Plunge team. She says the water was a little cold, but was wonderful compared to the years when it was 4-below-zero and 50-below wind chill.
Julie Hove was part of a team made up employees from a local clothing store.
She says it’s a rush, with your body feeling prickly when you get out of the water. Travis Hale and his children, 14-year-old James and 9-year-old Anna, drove to Clear Lake from Latimer to do the jump.
About 110 more swimmers participated this year compared to last year, with the event raising $28,500, before expenses. In 2011, the event raised about $21,000.
Photos and story by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City