Credit: Douglas Farrow/Capital News

Polar bear swims return to Kelowna on New Year’s Day

Jumping into ice cold water must be fun as more group swims are organized in the Okanagan

The holiday traditions are passing quickly. New Year’s Eve is the next holiday staple with people all over the globe celebrating the new year with resolutions, gifts, parties, and for some in the Okanagan, running into ice cold water.

On Jan. 1, those brave enough will once again storm the frigid waters of the Okanagan Lake in the 2019 polar bear swim. Polar bear swims have increased in popularity in places all over the world including Vancouver, Toronto, the U.S, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, and even Antarctica.

The dips are often held in celebration of the new year, as well as to fundraise for local charities. With nearly $8,000 being raised at last year’s dip in Kelowna.

In the Okanagan this year, there will be multiple gatherings for people to brave the cold and jump in for some good causes on the first day of 2019.

Kelowna:

Peachland:

Summerland:

  • 12 p.m. at Sun-Oka Beach at Trout Creek
  • Donations made to Summerland Kinsmen Club

Penticton:

Vernon:

  • Feb. 10 at Kalamalka Lake at 11:30 a.m.
  • $10 per person or $25 for families of four
  • Pledges raised for the Zimbabwe Project

Most of the organized swims require waivers to be filled out, but encourage everyone of all ages. Some sites may have some hot beverage stations for afterwards but be sure to bring towels, change of clothes, a thermos, and a really warm attitude.

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