Some chose to belly-flop or backflip into the icy-cold waters of Goodyear Lake, while others selected more traditional ways of taking the Polar Bear plunge Saturday.
No matter what the method of choice, the event is all for a good cause — to benefit children with medical needs. Funds are also given to the Portlandville Methodist Church (which shared its money with three adults), Catskill Area Hospice and the Milford Fire Department.
Many participants come back year after year to endure the frigid temperatures for the cause.
Victor Erway of Fly Creek is one of those committed jumpers saying this marked his 16th year taking the plunge. He said once he did it once, he became hooked.
“I’ve been to the end ceremony (where a check is given out to recipients), and it just touched me, so I said I am going to continue on,” he said. “I became very good friends with Brenda and Jamie Waters (organizers of the event), so I do it every year and help cut the hole (in the ice).”
Erway said people have called him crazy for jumping into the freezing-cold water in the middle of winter, but he said he loves doing it.
“It is a shock when you get in there, but when I come out I am good to go,” he said. “It is my halfway point for the winter, and I am revitalized and ready to go.”
According to Erway, the key to having a good jump is having no wind. This year was pretty ideal when it came to that, he said. However, he said it is nice when the ice is thicker so more people can be on the ice. Only a handful of participants were allowed on the ice at a time, and spectators were asked to watch from atop a hill.