The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club marks its 29th annual plunge into Lake Michigan at 12 noon on Thursday, January 1st. An estimated 500 or more swimmers are expected to make their way into the frigid lake waters at Lakeside Park in Jacksonport. The club started in Jacksonport in 1986 with one swimmer, JR Jarosh and it wasn’t until 1989 that the number tripled from one to three swimmers. The festivities on New Year’s Day begin at 8AM with an all-you-can-eat breakfast at the Jacksonport Fire Department. The pancake breakfast, sponsored by the Door County Fire Chief’s Association, runs until 11:30AM.
At Lakeside Park, things get going at 10:30AM with registration taking place at the park shelter closest to the lake. Once the noon hour rolls around, a ten second countdown will alert swimmers that it’s time to hit the water. A variety of Jacksonport Polar Bear Club merchandise will be available for purchase and participants and spectators are encouraged to bring non-perishable food item to donate to the Feed My People Food Pantry. Cash donations will also be accepted near the registration pavilion.