By Tim Kowols
A lake water temperature hovering above freezing is perfect for members of the Jarosh family, which with other members of the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club and hundreds of their closest friends, tackle every January 1. What started as a dare between a father and son has grown into 32 years of tradition and more than just a family affair. Looking back at the growing crowds that have gathered on the frozen beach over the years just before the ten-second countdown begins, club founder J.R. Jarosh still cannot believe what he started.
His fifth-grade daughter Abby has been training with him, who says she is ready for her second swim.
The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club swim takes place at Lakeside Park at noon. The event is free, but swimmers and spectators are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to support Feed my People.