Ian Sebesta of West Kelowna exits Okanagan Lake in a hurry at the annual Summerland Kinsmen Club Polar Bear Dip New Year’s Day. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Near balmy conditions for South Okanagan Polar Bear Dip

The 35th annual Polar Bear Dip organized by the Summerland Kinsemen Club was a hit with all ages.

Under near balmy conditions, with temperatures threatening to hit double digits over 100 people took part in the 35th annual Polar Bear Dip.

Organized by the Summerland Kinsmen Club at Sunoka Beach in Trout Creek, a wide variety of costumed characters ranging in age from five to 87 lined the beach to ring in the new year Wednesday.

Temperatures were hovering around the 10 C degree at noon as the starting gun was fired and the participants ran into the water under the watchful eyes of the volunteers of Penticton Search and Rescue who were in the water to keep everyone safe.

READ MORE: Swimmers prepare for icy plunge at Summerland beach

This year was another family affair for three ladies, Angela Chenier of Castlegar, Penticton’s Wendy Urban and Monika Wegener of Los Angeles, Ca.

“My family’s up here and I came for Christmas,” said Wegener. “I did it last year and I wanted to do it again, it’s a fun thing to do.”

Chenier agreed, adding with a laugh: “She (Wegener) roped me into it last year and I just follow everything my old sister tells me to do.

“It’s also on my bucket list so I may as well, I’m getting old so you’ve got to do exciting things, why not?”

Their team name was Bathing Aging Beauty Contest and on their sign it mentioned the names of the two other sisters, Rita and Heidi, who apparently “chickened out.”

Prizes were also give out by the service club that included the youngest and oldest participants.



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Warming up by the fire on the beach after their swim. (Mark Brett - Western News)

It was a family affair for (left to right) Angela Chenier of Castlegar, Wendy Urban of Penticton and Monka Wegener of Los Angeles, Ca. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Even the chickens turned out to go for a Polar Bear Dip. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Summerland’s Matt Dykstra was dressed as a banana for this year’s Polar Bear Dip. (Mark Brett - Western News)

The crowd races for the waters of Okanagan Lake at the 35th annual Polar Bear Dip. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Young polar bear participants wait by the fire on Sunoka Beach before the start. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Most people had the same expression on their faces after a quick dip in the cool Okanagan Lake waters. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Many people, young and old, took part in the 35th annual Summerland Kinsmen Club Polar Bear Dip New Year’s Day. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Hitching a ride out of the lake. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Richard Terry of Penticton Search and Rescue watches as Polar Bear dippers enjoy the water at the annual event at Sunoka Beach. Members were on hand in case anyone got in trouble. (Mark Brett - Western News)

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