© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Several hundred people braved chilly temperatures and cold harbour waters to participate in the 2012 polar bear swim.
A number of Prince Edward Islanders are planning on ringing in the New Year with an icy plunge this Wednesday.
The 24th annual Polar Bear Swim is being held in Charlottetown at 10:30 a.m. sharp at the foot of Pownal Street.
Hundreds of participants gathered at the shore between the Charlottetown Yacht Club and Queen Charlotte Armouries last year to take part in P.E.I.’s biggest polar bear swim.
Organizers said they are hoping for another large crowd this year.
“Spectators are welcome and it always adds to the event to have a big crowd of supporters cheering on the polar bears,” said organizers. “Swimmers are encouraged to dress for the occasion with costumes, footwear, swim suites, hats and noise makers for the first un-official event of 2014.”
Organizers have cautioned participants to wear warm clothing and be careful when they make their way through the deep snow leading down to the beach. They also said that participants may need to wait their turn, with swimmers entering the water through a hole chopped in the ice.
“This is considered an extreme event and people with any health concerns relating to swimming in icy cold January water should participate as a spectator on shore,” said organizers. “All swimmers swim at your own risk.”
There is no cost or registration for the event.
More information can be found at the Facebook group “PEI Polar Bear Club.”