Record turnout at Ballard polar bear plunge

Buzzing with anticipation, about two hundred people gathered at Golden Gardens this morning for the third annual Ballard polar bear plunge. At 11 a.m. on the dot, they charged the cold waters of Puget Sound, briefly drenching themselves amid cheers and screams. To the video:

“It was awesome, totally awesome!” said Brandy, who was wearing a big “Happy New Year” hat. “I’m hooked, I’ll be back.”

The event started three years ago, the brainchild of a group of friends from Ballard’s Lock and Keel. “I did it up in Vancouver where there’s like 8,000 people who do it, and then I came down here,” explained Rick Sandvig. “So I said, why don’t we do it here?” The first two years, about 50 people attended. This year, “It’s big,” said Sandvig.

“I saw it on the blog, and I thought what an amazing way to the start the new year,” explains Liv, who said it’s her first polar bear plunge. “It wasn’t as cold as I thought it was going to be. It was the shock, oh my god it’s so cold, but once you got out, it’s so warm out, it’s like summer on the beach.”

Prior to the big plunge, organizers held a contest for the best costume. And Silver — well known to My Ballard readers — won with a skeleton swimsuit and a crime tape scarf.

Happy New Year everyone!

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