Twenty-seven brave souls took the plunge at the 17th Annual Little Fort Polar Bear Dip on Jan. 1, 2011. Volunteers cleared the water of ice by the Little Fort Ferry slip beforehand, using long poles to push the ice away, which left an open area straight from the beach into the river. Although the ice was definitely thinner than last year, it was actually a colder day, being minus -9°C degrees.
At exactly noon, with a large crowd cheering them on, the swimmers ran into the water, and most ran right back out! One brave fellow stayed in for a few minutes, waiting till everyone else had left the water before coming out himself. Everyone then went back to the hearty bonfire by the Fire Hall to warm up, and enjoy coffee, hot chocolate and donuts.
A challenge had been made between Barriere and Clearwater regarding who would have the most dippers. Barriere won with 10, with Clearwater close behind with nine. The winners of the oldest male and female dippers were Doug (61) and Louise (59) Richardson of Clearwater. The youngest dippers were Michael Loring (9) of Chu Chua, and Bree Ann Fischer (12) of Little Fort. Area Fire Departments sent dippers from Barriere, Clearwater and Little Fort.
Donations were accepted at the event for the Food Bank, adding up to $168 plus a few canned goods.
For those who would like to see more of the event, go to YouTube and search for “Little Fort Polar Bear Dip”, or check out the Friends of Little Fort page on Facebook.
Find pictures of winning dippers on page 2 inside.