500+ dive into Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump

10:02 PM, Feb 18, 2012   |    comments
Photo by Ryan Haidet, WKYC-TV.
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The cold wind was blowing, flurries were flying and the water was 37 degrees. That didn't stop Batman, a walking hot dog and men with wings from taking a quick swim.

As hundreds of spectators watched from the beach, more than 500 people of all ages dove into the arctic waters for the 9th annual Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump.

Click here to see photos from the chilly event

While some were dressed in goofy costumes, many people took the shivering splash wearing traditional swimwear. Then there were those who some simply wore their underpants.

When each person emerged from the water, they rushed off to a warming tent with chattering teeth and widespread goosebumps.

Each participant had to donate at least $25 to dive in, but many brought in much larger donations. Early estimates indicate the event raised $81,000 for the American Cancer Society, Stewart's Caring Place Cancer Wellness Center and Camp Quality Ohio.

Emergency staff was on hand to help everybody out of the water.

The event was presented by the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club.


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