Monday, February 05, 2007

(not taking) the Plunge

Bitter cold this weekend, which caused us to wonder how many brave or reckless folks would take the annual Polar Bear Plunge (the Susquehanna is so shallow at Lewisburg that it's more like taking the Wade; one has to wade thirty feet out just to take a good dip in the water). We were amazed to see about 75 folks dash, in small groups, into the river. Much whooping and cheering from the 250 or so townfolk gathered on the bank, bundled tight against the freezing wind. A paramedic unit was parked on the ramp, and blue-uniformed recue workers chatted nonchalantly. A local restaurant offered free hot chocolate to participants. A man in a thickly padded red wetsuit--he looked like a Spandex-encased walrus--stood in the water tied to a heavy rope; he'd stoop every now and then to pluck a chunk of ice from the river and toss it aside with a splash.

Great fun. This was also the weekend for the local ice festival--carved ice sculptures set up along Market Street, with a great big one in Hufnagle Park. At least the ice will keep a while this year: during last year's festival, temperatures were in the forties and the sculptures melted quickly, toppling, forlorn and misshapen, to the sidewalks. [Check out "The Ice Festival," a wonderful poem by Katie Hays in issue 32:1 of the New Orleans Review which is set during last year's festival here in Lewisburg.]

[photos: Polar Bear Plunge, Lewisburg, 2/3/07]

1 comment:

Charles said...

But where are all the bears?

Those look like twinks to me.