Residents ready themselves for Polar Plunge at Lakeside Beach

People run into Lake Huron during the Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by the Port Huron Kiwanis Club in 2013. This year’s event will be at Lakeside Beach Saturday. (Jeffrey Smith | Times Herald)

People run into Lake Huron during the Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by the Port Huron Kiwanis Club in 2013. This year’s event will be at Lakeside Beach Saturday. (Jeffrey Smith | Times Herald)

By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

For the past five years, the Port Huron Northern hockey team has been taking part in the Kiwanis Polar Bear Plunge at Lakeside Beach.

In this year’s plunge, which will be at noon Saturday at Lakeside Beach, spectators can expect to see the team running into the nearly freezing waters of Lake Huron, head coach Daryel McCarrel said.

“You get out there in the chilly water on a Saturday morning and it brings the team together,” McCarrel said. “We’ve fallen in love with the event. We ask all our players to give back along the line, and this is perfect for us. It’s win-win for everybody.”

Michelle Shepley, chairwoman of the event, said the plunge was created to raise money for the Port Huron Kiwanis Club.

The service club is centered in St. Clair County and has been around for 90 years. Shepley said it has done a lot for youth groups in the area.

“There are going to be several other organizations that will be participating,” Shepley said. “If they raise under $1,000, it’s a 50-50 split, but if we raise more than $1,000, then it is split 60-40.”

Those other organizations include Help and Hope, Port Huron Karate and Marysville Middle School, which will be plunging for the March of Dimes.

The first year the Kiwanis Club had the Polar Bear Plunge, there were fewer than 50 attendees. In 2013, its 13th year, officials estimated more than 200 people made the plunge.

Shepley said as of Tuesday he’s distributed more than 400 packets of information for this year’s event.

But same-day registration is available for those who decide that day to take the plunge. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Shepley said there will be a dive team there to watch in case anyone needs help. There also will be a few fire pits available so people can stay warm.

“Anyone interested can contact us, and then we get them packages,” Shepley said. “We request a $35 donation in order to participate. Of course, you can come down and watch for free on Saturday.”

Those who are under 18 years old are required to have a legal guardian present and to sign a waiver.

For more information, or to register for the event, call Shepley at (810) 300-3554.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 956-8905 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 2, 2014)

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