Polar Dip 2020: It’s a 19-year Three Rivers tradition

On New Year’s Day 2002, when a half a dozen or so daredevils took a chilly plunge into the Kaweah River adjacent to the Gateway Restaurant, there wasn’t an inkling that this would become a revered annual tradition in Three Rivers. Nearly two decades later, there is a core group of regulars and an annual herd of newbies who couldn’t imagine starting the new year any other way. Polar Dip 2020

They come to shake the effects of New Year’s Eve excesses, they come for the free chili, they come to show off their mid-winter physique… but no matter what the motivation, few folks forget that perfect numbness of spending less than 30 seconds in 38-degree river water. Polar Dip 2020

The part of this event that requires the most time is getting everyone who is coming down to the water’s edge to sign a liability waiver. Ryan Fansett, a former Three Rivers kid and Gateway Restaurant worker, has presided over the last several countdowns. He seems right at home standing in ankle deep water reminding all to be smart and to get in and get out. Polar Dip 2020

On a day like Wednesday, January 1, 2020, with sun shining and the air temperature in the upper 50s, it almost seemed like taking the plunge might be more refreshing than ice cold. But it wasn’t; it was still breathtakingly cold. Polar Dip 2020

Two minutes after the the noon countdown, it’s all over but the shouting and high-five giving… and the party that started the night before resumes for at least one more day.

Happy New Year, Three Rivers!

Two minutes after the the noon countdown, it’s all over but the shouting and high-giving… and the party that started the night before resumes for at least one more day.

Happy New Year, Three Rivers! Happy New Year, Three Rivers!

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