Polar Brrrrrr Plunge

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A brave “polar bear” takes the plunge Saturday at the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center. (Lyndsey McCormick)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The 2021 Polar Bear Plunge took place Saturday morning at the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center (CWAC), including a first for the annual event- a double dip! With approximately 70 brave participants coming out on the chilly morning, in an effort to maintain social distancing, the plunging polar bears were dividing into two groups.

Both water and air temperatures were around 45 degrees for the 10 a.m. Plunge, but participants were not deterred. Some seemed a tad hesitant as the countdown began, while others were eager to experience the frigid waters of the outside pool. Most sprung out of the water as quickly as they entered. Only a couple chose to linger and float.

Wallace State Community College nursing instructor Ashley Ball said it was the first time she’d braved the Plunge. She nervously eyed the water before the big jump.

She laughed afterward, “I don’t know if I will do it again! It was a lot colder than I thought it would be. It feels better now being out of there.”

Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism (CPRST) Executive Director Zac Wood came out to cheer on the participants but did not brave the waters. He said this year’s event was a bit different from years past.

“It initially was in conjunction with Community Wellness Day, a day to get people out and (to) come down to the center and a way to get introduced to the aquatic center,” he said. “This year we didn’t tie it to that because of everything going on.”

Following the Plunge, CWAC staff drew for several prizes, including a grand prize of a free one-year membership.

CPRST Marketing Coordinator Jasef Wisener said 72 people pre-registered for the Plunge. “It was definitely one of our bigger years. The most we ever had was 85 and that was two years ago.”

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com