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Polar Bears celebrate 25th plunge

Hundreds of hardy souls converged on the Olalla pier on New Year
Hundreds of hardy souls converged on the Olalla pier on New Year's Day for the 25th anniversary of the Polar Bear Plunge.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo

As if they needed reminding it was the wrong time of year for swimming, the hundreds of nerve-numbed thrill-seekers planning to participate in the 25th anniversary of the Polar Bear Plunge today in Olalla were greeted by another inch of snow when they woke up this morning.

By and large the new precipitation had melted by the time the cannon boomed, signaling the all-clear to leap from the pier, however.

The plunge was first celebrated on Jan. 1, 1984, when Al's Grocery owner John Alvin Robbecke and 11 friends took an impromptu New Year's Day dip.

The event has since evolved into what its organizers believe is the largest such event in the state.

With television cameras whirring and a huge bonfore cracking on the banks, the fun kicked promptly at noon.

The hypothermia will follow this afternoon.

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