Awesome Reactions from the Lakeview Polar Bear Plunge

Polar Bears on Oak Street Beach?! Yes folks, it's true. The Lakeview Polar Bear Club hosted its 10th annual plunge this weekend and the experience did not disappoint.

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With nearly 600 photos taken during the plunge, we had the fun challenge of whittling down the gallery. It was tough, but we've pulled the 80 that best set the scene for the day and capture the bone-chilling dip for the 600+ participants. It was a true celebration of shrinkage and cutting glass as water temps matched the air temperature exactly--a crisp 32 degrees. And to think--this isn't anywhere near the coldest plunge on record!

While we're still waiting on the final fund raising totals to roll in [to include the proceeds earned at the after party], the entire club is thrilled to have raised several thousand dollars for two extremely deserving families.

But we all know you're here to check out the photos and enjoy seeing other people in agony...we are, after all, only human. I just sincerely hope that everyone has thawed out by now. So why don't we let the pictures do the talking and demonstrate the success of the event?

It is my pleasure to introduce to you, the Lakeview Polar Bear Class of 2011...
We also took some time to ask folks exactly what brought them out to conquer Lake Michigan on such a crummy January day. Here's what they had to say...


"We're here for a good's all about the kids." - Rick, 53 and Will, 26


"I lost a bet because the NY Yankees lost to the Texas Rangers and it was time to pony up!" - Kathy, 47


Val, Steve and Michelle joined their friends for a dip in Lake Michigan...why? "Because it was on my bucket list!" - Michelle, 26 "Because it's fun!" -Steve, 28 and "Because it's an awesome life experience!" - Val, 20 [All five friends were Polar Bear Virgins and plan on coming back next year.]


"To prove to my girl that there's nothing that my mind can't conquer!" - George, 40 [left] "It's a once a year thing that you can do...but man that water was cold!" - Jeff, 33 [right]


"It's on the list of things that people can do on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of January." - Mike, 31 [left] And of course "Why Not? Not much else to do in this town." - Damon, 35 [right] ....and blogger's note...really? Not much else to do in this town?! Just how often do you get out? ;)


"He made us do it. A group of us agreed to do it back in October--but our friends punked out as the time got closer. It was super fun and we definitely want to do it again!" - Kate 31 [right] with friends Kathleen, 26 and Sean, 27.

Did you take the plunge?! Leave a comment and tell us about your chilly dip in the lake!  And be sure to keep next year's plunge on your radar for a refreshing way to jump start your year! Stay awesome, friends!




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  • Nice job lady. You are so "cooool!" :)

  • I am a part of Team Zaine. Zaine is one of the families that benefitted from this event. Zaine is the 4 yr old son of my best friend. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident back in June. I wish each and every one of you could have seen the smile on his face as he watched all the crazies jump into the water to help him! To everyone who had ANYTHING to do with any part of this day, there are not enough words to thank you for all that has been done. May God bless each and every one of you as he has blessed Zaine! Thank you Chicago Tribune for posting these pictures, Thank you LPBC for choosing Zaine and Thank you 5 Star Limo service for treating Zaine like a rock star for the day!

  • In reply to tammycrum:

    Glad we could help spread the message of the event to the world. But the Wagoner and Cottle families are the true heroes of the day! Here's to hoping that even more folks take the plunge next year so LPBC can continue to help more families all around Chicago!

  • In reply to tammycrum:

    That looks like was freezing. At least it was a bit warmer today than it's been lately.

  • In reply to tammycrum:

    I thought hypothermia was fatal?

  • In reply to LucidRealty:

    Fortunately, no one stayed in for a substantial amount of time. And the coordinators had all the bases covered with medics and the fire department there first hand.

  • In reply to tammycrum:

    As usual, the girl with the bikini is on all the plugs, but only 14 of 80 here.

  • In reply to jack:

    So what you're really saying is that you clicked the link hoping to see 80 photos of chicks in bikinis cutting glass ;)

    Just kidding. Kind of.

    There actually were far more men than women participating in the consider it a proportionally appropriate representation :)

  • In reply to RunningJayhawk:

    But Chicago Now isn't going to put pictures of any of them on the "From Around Chicago Now" footer (like #12 pot belly tattoo guy, or #13 cropped to show only Mr. Blubber).

  • In reply to RunningJayhawk:

    This is totally insane! Only insane women in bikinis do this kind of thing..

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