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Mike McGinn, Mayor

SUBJECT:  Start 2011 Off Right: Ninth Annual Polar Bear Plunge Coming Up New Year’s Day!
12/16/2010  9:19:00 AM
Dewey Potter  (206) 684-7241

Start 2011 Off Right: Ninth Annual Polar Bear Plunge Coming Up New Year’s Day!
Family-friendly event features warm beverages, costumes, “Patches of Courage”

Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Meadowbrook Community Center Advisory Council are co-sponsoring the ninth Annual Polar Bear Swim at high noon on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 at Matthews Beach, 9300 51st Ave. NE. Registration starts at around 11 a.m. by showing your official Polar Bear wrist band ceremoniously attached to your paw. Or wrist.

There will be refreshments and a “2011 Official Patch of Courage” for all heroic polar bears who immerse themselves neck-deep in the lake, to prove to friends and loved ones they actually braved the frigid waters, which in 2008 measured at a chilly 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

This year, dress up in a costume! Sign our memory book at, and feel free to link information about the event on your Facebook page or tweet it!

We’ll once again feature the new “Polar Cub Club,” a special time just before the polar bears plunge, for younger folks or people who need a little bit more room. Some people actually choose to double dip.

At the 2010 swim, the turnout set a record, and Parks staff distributed Polar Bear Vitamins (marshmallows) to each bear who felt he or she needed an “edge.”

Parks offers a few tips for enjoying a fun, safe swim:

  • If you have heart problems or other serious medical concerns, we recommend you consult your health care professional before taking the Polar Plunge. If you don’t go in the water, come and watch!
  • Don’t drink alcohol – it doesn’t warm you up, and it accelerates hypothermia.
  • Don’t stay in the water for longer than 15 minutes – you lose body heat 25 times faster in water than in air.
  • Don’t take off your outer clothing until you’re ready to get in the water, and remove wet clothing before getting into dry clothes.
  • Costumes are part of the fun, and are welcome!

The Polar Bear Plunge was the first official event of its kind in the Seattle area. Janet Wilson, the Aquatic Center Coordinator at Meadowbrook Pool, started the event off on January 1, 2003. About 300 people participated in that first Polar Bear Plunge, and since then the attendance has soared to more than 1,000 brave bears of every age. The plunge has inspired other, similar events in the Seattle area. 

Witnesses to history will, at each participant’s request, record the names of the bold souls who complete the mission by signing our online blog.


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Seattle Parks and Recreation

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