The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club’s annual plunge into Lake Michigan has grown from a single swimmer in 1986 to an awesome crowd of several hundred Door County “polar bears” and even more spectators!
The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club Ltd. brings in the new year with their traditional jump into the icy waters of Lake Michigan every January 1 at 12 noon sharp. The very popular annual Door County event is held at Lakeside Park in downtown Jacksonport which is located 11 miles north of Sturgeon Bay on Hwy. 57, along Door County’s eastern shore.
The festivities will start at 8 am on New Year’s Day with the pancake breakfast at the Town Hall on Hwy. V. The Fire Departments of Door County will be working together to provide an “all you can eat pancake breakfast” for the public at the Jacksonport Town Hall. Pancakes will be cooked and served by the “Great Pancake Show” from 8 am to 11 am. Cost per plate is Adults $8 and Children $6. They have done numerous pancake breakfasts in Door County and are a big hit with their pancake antics. Profits will benefit all participating fire departments.
Other Jacksonport businesses that will be open on New Year’s Day, January 1: Mike’s Port Pub will be open at 10 am; JJ’s of Jacksonport will open at 11 am; Jacksonport Craft Cottage will open at 9 am.
The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club first started in Jacksonport in Door County, WI, 1986 with one swimmer. It wasn’t until 1989 that the number tripled from one to three swimmers. The club has seen rapid growth since then and often attracts an estimated 800 swimmers with well over 2000 spectators there to witness the event.
Souvenir Polar Bear t-shirts, caps, lapel pins and fleece jackets are offered for sale at the registration tent. Hot beverages will also be available at the registration shelter. The JPBC is a non-profit organization. Funds raised pay the clubs insurance and cost of printed materials. All participants receive a free official JPBC Membership Card and a Certificate of Participation in the annual event. After expenses, funds raised are donated to the Jacksonport Fire Department and Feed My People, a local food pantry.
There is no charge to participate but all participants and onlookers are asked to make a donation or bring some non-perishable food items to donate to the the Feed My People van which will be here. Feed My People will be represented this year by Joy Zakrzewski, Dick Chapelle and Rick Kinka. They’ll have the big “Feed My People” truck and are hoping for many donations to help fill their cupboards after the holidays.
The swim is held precisely at 12 noon, with the crowd favorite 10 second countdown preceding the massive influx of swimmers into the lake. For more information, contact the club website at www.doorbell.net/pbc , the www.Jacksonport.net website or phone 920.823.2288.