Most of us do whatever we can to escape the cold during the winter months, but every year in Lake George, hundreds ring in the New Year with a frigid shock to the senses. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, for the first time in decades, the popular Lake George Polar Plunge is in need of a new home.
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. – No cup of coffee or espresso shot will ever wake you up the way a dip in freezing cold water will. Why else would thousands brave those chilly temperatures at the annual Lake George Polar Plunge?
"Cold, very cold," Winter Carnival co-chair Nancy Nichols says of her last New Year’s Day dip a few years ago.
"The very first year we moved over to Shepherd Park, I was invited to do it and I did for about 10 seconds and that was it,” joked Lake George Mayor Robert Blais.
"It's kind of a quick thing, you've got to do it quickly,” Winter Carnival co-organizer Linda Duffy said. “But it does revive you and you do feel good afterwards."
"It's cold, it's numbing, it's fun, it's exhilarating,” Blais said. “It's whatever you want it to be on New Year's Day."
Since the 1970s, the Polar Plunge, which serves as the main fundraiser for the annual Winter Carnival in February, has been a New Year's Day staple for upwards of 1,500 people a year.
Typically held at Shepherd's Park Beach, this year, the Plunge is in need of a new home because an ongoing Asian Clam eradication project will keep the beach closed through winter.
"Obviously it's not safe to swim over there and they don't want the mats disturbed, so we have a request in to use the Million Dollar Beach," Duffy said.
"While we haven't heard yet on the application, they've always been very cooperative to the village in using that facility," Blais said.
This is hardly the first curveball thrown at the Winter Carnival organizers in recent years. Just last year, the season was so mild, they had to bring in snow makers for the first time ever in order to have enough snow to host the popular outhouse races.
"We are Mother Nature dependent, but we have good imaginations," Duffy said.
If the request to hold the event at Million Dollar Beach is granted, organizers say free shuttles will be available at the high school.
Despite the temporary change of plans, organizers say they're prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the event going strong.
"We are not just a summer resort, we are a year round resort and we need to make it that way,” Nichols said. “The Winter Carnival does definitely bring the people in."