Scene in the Sound: Polar Brrrr-ears take the plunge

A swimmer enjoys the water. (Photo by David Carlos)

Polar Bears in Puget Sound, you say? You bet — it happens every Jan. 1, and My Neighborhood News was there to commemorate the fun as hundreds gathered for the annual New Year’s Day dip at Brackett’s Landing in Edmonds.

Uplift Society members gather at Daphne’s on Main Street, with charter members Michael Matta and Mike Spano showing off their ceremonial robes. Each year new embroidery is added to commemorate continued participation. Both have plunged every year since the event’s inception on 2008. Originally formed around 1930 as a drinking club, the Edmonds Uplift Society was reborn in 2008 and is based at Daphne’s. The annual Edmonds Polar Bear Plunge is the group’s signature activity. (Photo by Larry Vogel)
Uplift members squeeze into Daphne’s for a chorus of “God Bless America” before leaving to march down Main Street to Brackett’s Landing. (Photo by Larry Vogel)
The group breaks out in song as they approach the beach. (Photo by Larry Vogel)
As they gather to march down Main Street to the beach, Uplift members pause for a group photo. Event organizer Louise Favier (front center) holds up her Rainier beer, the official beverage of the Edmonds Uplift Society. Favier and husband Brian Taylor, owners of Daphne’s, reformed the Uplift Society in 2008. They now live in New York City, but Favier made the trek back to lead this year’s Polar Bear Plunge. “It’s so nice to see the old gang again,” she said. “We’ve thought about doing more promotion for the event, but there’s something about the size of it that’s so sweet.” Indeed, if the group were much bigger it wouldn’t fit in Daphne’s! (Photo by Larry Vogel)
A swimmer exhibits appropriate head gear prior to taking a dip. (Photo by Chad Emerson)
There was even international representation. (Photo by Vivian Murray)
The group receives final instructions from Mike Spano. “We’re not here to just stick our toes in,” he announces. “It’s necks and nipples or you can’t come back next year!” (Photo by Larry Vogel)
And they’re off! About 200 others were waiting on the beach for the Uplift Society to arrive, making it a very festive event. (Photo by Larry Vogel)
Yes, the water is cold! (Photo by David Carlos)
After a few minutes of splashing, Polar Bears return to the beach, watched by an audience lining the ferry dock. (Photo by Chad Emerson)



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