Take A New Year’s Day Plunge in Lake Michigan

The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club is preparing to take their annual plunge into Lake Michigan for the 32nd time at noon on Jan. 1, 2018.

For the past 31 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’s eastern coast. An estimated 600-800 or more swimmers are expected to take the plunge during the group’s 32nd annual event, which puts this polar bear swim among some of the largest in the country.

The swim will be held precisely at noon, with the crowd favorite 10-second countdown preceding a massive influx of swimmers into the lake.

Festivities at Lakeside Park in Jacksonport 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 save time by downloading the form to fill out ahead of time at and simply drop it off the day of the event.

Club founder J.R. Jarosh, who was 14 years old the first year he went in back in 1986, said to celebrate the 32nd annual swim, “We are encouraging costumes of any kind this year, be it one you’ve worn before, a new one or just something fun you’ve had in your closet for 30 years.”

David Gohr from Loud Entertainment DJ Service will be on the beach to provide music and announcements leading up to and during the event. Spectators are asked to stay outside of the yellow taped areas on the beach, which are designated for swimmers only.

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

For more information and tips for swimmers, visit


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