Duffy’s Tavern has released the schedule for the 2018 New Year’s Day Polar Plunge. Registration for plungers will open Sunday, Dec. 31 at 11 a.m. This New Year’s Eve registration period will run through 5 p.m. A second registration period will be held the morning of the plunge, Jan. 1, beginning at 10:30 a.m. and will continue up to the 1 p.m. plunge time. Registration will be held at Duffy’s Tavern on Lower Amherst Street, Lake George. Registration involves completing a waiver form and receiving wave assignment. The cost to register is $10.
The registration fee is something new for the 2018 plunge. In past years, registration was free, although most plungers supported the event’s charities by purchasing an official plunge t-shirt. The official long-sleeved New Year’s Day Polar Plunge t-shirts will be available for purchase in addition to registration. This year, funds raised will be donated to the fire departments that provide safety and security for the event and the Springfield Shriner’s Hospital for Children.
The first 400 registrants will be assigned to the first wave, which will plunge into Lake George from Shepard Park Beach at 1 p.m. The next 400 will make up the second wave, which plunges at 1:15. Subsequent waves will plunge every 15 minutes thereafter until every registrant is wet.
The tradition of jumping into Lake George on New Year’s Day began in 1973 when Al Mottola, then President of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, came to Lake George for an icy dip. The event grew with encouragement from Charlie “Papa Bear” Albert, founder of the Lake George Polar Bear Club. Following Albert’s passing in 2000, the Lake George Winter Carnival took on the task of organizing the New Year’s Day plunge. In recent years, Duffy’s Tavern has run the event. Last year, nearly 1,200 plunged as several hundred spectators cheered from the shore.