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Photos: Biggest turn out yet to 37th Summerland Polar Bear Dip

Polar bear dips were held at Sun-Oka, Naramata and Osoyoos

A crowd of more than 1,000 gathered at Summerland’s Sun-Oka beach to watch brave souls plunge into 2023 and into Okanagan Lake on Jan. 1.

There was a banana, bunnies, people dressed up as Christmas presents and New Year revellers, even a polar bear, all to take in the 37th annual Summerland Kinsmen Polar Bear Dip which by far was the biggest one yet, said Kinsmen president Fredrick Numsen.

“We are ready to kick off the year and have a great start,” said Numsen before the polar bear dip.

“Last year it was -17 and this year is 2 degrees under beautiful sun. The beach is clean and ready to go.”

Numsen noted that the polar bear dip is a great way to get together with friends and family and all ages participate.

The event raised over $3,000 for the Kinsmen and will be put into local projects.

Kelly, who dressed up as a Christmas present this year, is a fellow Kinsmen from Kelowna who has been participating in the Summerland dip for three years.

“I’m here to support the Kinsmen of Summerland,” he said. “It’s a really fun event.” Another man in his 50s did his first polar bear dip and said it was the best feeling, ‘very invigorating.’ A woman showed up in a polar bear costume. This was her first time to Sun-Oka’s polar bear dip.

Others have made it an annual tradition with hundreds running into the lake at exactly 12 p.m. Beach fires, hot chocolate and hot dogs awaited the brave dippers. Kinsmen were also selling T-shirts by donation.

Naramata also had a great turn out for their first polar bear dip that benefited the volunteer fire department there.

Hundreds turned out a centre beach, with dozens going for a dip.

Down in Osoyoos, they cut out a rectangle in the ice at Gyro Park and people took an actual plunge into the icy waters.

READ MORE: Father and son break through ice to take weekly swim

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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