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Vernon Winter Carnival’s Polar Bear Swim a real splash

Dozens of people jumped into a frigid Okanagan Lake Saturday
Dozens of people braved the cold and jumped into Okanagan Lake for the Vernon Winter Carnival Polar Bear Swim Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Dozens of brave souls took a chilly dip in Okanagan Lake Saturday afternoon during the Vernon Winter Carnival Polar Bear Swim.

The swim, part of the 63rd annual Winter Carnival festivities, took place at Paddlewheel Beach at 1 p.m. Feb. 11. Registration was $10 for individuals and $25 for families and all money raised will go to the Zimbabwe Project Society to help children in Zimbabwe.

There was a fire pit with marshmallow roasting, hot dogs and hot chocolate sponsored by Kal Containers. A silent auction was held on the porch adjacent to the beach and the Polar Bear Market was happening inside Paddlewheel Hall.

Max Kuehling was with a group of fellow swimmers, and said they do the Polar Bear Swim every year.

“It’s a challenge and it’s for a good cause,” he said before taking the plunge.

Ciara Lessard and Ericka Andesron said they were doing the swim “because we’re stupid teenagers.” It was their first time doing the swim.

A polar bear mascot was busy photo-bombing swimmers as they towelled off.

The water may have been cold, but at least the weather cooperated, with sunny skies and temperatures around 5 C.

There’s still plenty to do during the final weekend of the Winter Carnival, including the final games of the 50th Pee Wee Hockey Tournament and the Carnival Kickball Tournament. On Sunday there is the Halina Centre’s RRREEAALY Big Variety Show from 3 to 7 p.m. There is also a 10 kilometre running race and 3 kilometre fun run hosted by Kal RATS at Lavington Elementary School at 10 a.m. On Sunday there will also be a bubble tea making class at Rich Tea on 30th Avenue at 2 p.m.

READ MORE: Vernon Winter Carnival final weekend starts with bang and burn(er)

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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