Dover ready for annual dip

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A group of large, non-native species will charge into Lake Erie Jan. 1.

On the first afternoon of 2019, the town will play host to its annual Polar Bear Plunge event.
Dozens of participants are expected to take part while many more watch from the shore in one of the most popular traditions in Norfolk.

“The weather is going to be beautiful and the water is warm,” said Scotty MacDonald, who acts as the ‘head polar bear’.

The Weather Network predicts that the day will bring a mix of light snow and sun with the temperature hovering around plus-1.

That’s great news for MacDonald and all those brave enough to dive in.

“To be honest with you, I’ve noticed more people at swims like this when it’s an easy run in and jump in,” he said.

Members of the Norfolk County Paramedic Services are scheduled to be on hand in case of emergency and the town’s public washrooms located on St. George St. will be open for folks to get changed, and also mentally prepare for their excursion.

MacDonald provided first-time spectators and participants a couple things to note before heading down to the beach.

“For people watching, stay out of the way of the swimmers,” he suggested. “For the swimmers, bring some footwear, long pants and long sleeves just in case there is any ice.”

If you’ve ever been in Port Dover to take in the festivities, you’ve seen folks who are gung-ho prior to the dip but pull the chute as soon as the water touches their feet.

An attempt like that won’t gain you full polar bear status.

“It only counts if you put your head completely underwater,” MacDonald noted.

Also part of the New Year’s Day festivities in Norfolk is the Port Dover Harbour Museum’s Captain’s New Year’s Day Levee and Old-Time Fiddle Party. These events kick off just after the swim – which begins at 1 p.m. – at the facility, which is located at 44 Harbour St. For more information call 519-583-2660.

jrobinson@postmedia.com

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