Get Ready for the Plunge

The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club is preparing to take their annual plunge into Lake Michigan for the 29th time at 12 pm on Jan. 1, 2015.

For the past 28 years the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club has celebrated the New Year by going for an icy dip into Lake Michigan at Lakeside Park in Jacksonport along Door County Wisconsin’s eastern coast. An estimated 500 or more swimmers are expected to take the plunge during the group’s 29th annual event, which puts this polar bear swim among one of the largest in the country.

“It’s simply amazing how the event has grown over the years,” said club founder J.R. Jarosh, who was 14 years old the first year he went in back in 1986. “To see how so many people have embraced the opportunity to battle the elements and celebrate the new year by going for a dip, I think it’s just great,” he said.

The festivities will start at 8 am on Jan. 1 with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the Jacksonport Fire Station, 3365 County Road V, just up the road from Lakeside Park. Running until 11:30 am, the pancake breakfast is sponsored by the Door County Fire Chief’s Association.

Festivities at Lakeside Park will begin around 10:30 am on New Year’s Day. Registration for all swimmers will take place in the park shelter closest to the lake. While the event is free, all swimmers are asked to sign a liability release form before participating in the event. Forms will be available at the registration pavilion or swimmers can download the form and fill it out ahead of time at and simply drop it off the day of the event. Free Jacksonport Polar Bear certificates of achievement will also be available to all swimmers when they register.

Participants and spectators are also encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Feed My People. For more information visit