If you want to start 2022 feeling better about your winter tan or physique, try heading to Jacksonport to watch a sea of pure Wisconsinite hit the lake for the 35th Jacksonport Polar Bear Plunge.
The swim returns after a one-year COVID-19 pause in 2020. Organizer J.R. Jarosh said participants are welcome to make up for last year’s cancellation by soaking in some extra swim time this year. The plunge takes place at noon at Lakeside Park. There is no cost to participate.
Jarosh was the only participant in the first plunge, which took place Dec. 26, 1986, when he was 11. That’s a far cry from today, when as many as 900 swimmers may join him.
• Take footwear such as old tennis shoes or aqua socks to protect your feet from ice and rocks and to prevent your feet from sticking to ice or snow.
• Have dry boots or shoes to jump into after your swim.
• Arrive early. Not only will you get a better parking spot, but there will be food and drinks, and you’ll have time to reevaluate the life decisions that took you to the icy shores of Jacksonport to kick off your new year.
• Take a blanket to set up camp in the swimmers-only area to get your post-swim gear ready to go.
• Leave your glasses at your camp, or wear a strap to keep them on. You won’t have much luck finding them in the ice and sand after the event.