Plan on ringing in the New Year with a midnight kiss? How about a plunge into the frigid waters of Lake Norman instead?
This year's second annual "Polar Bear Plunge" will take place at The Point Lake and Golf Club in Mooresville on New Year's Day.
Holiday festivities begin the previous night at the Hope at the Point Foundation's "Polar Bear Party" at Shoals restaurant and bar in Mooresville. A minimum donation of $100 ensures admission to a night of toasting and dancing along with a "Polar Plunge" spot the following morning at The Point's 18th Fairway.
The event is the brainchild of the Point's Polar Bear Club members Beau Watsonand Lou Ascanio who sought a creative way to raise funds for the community's needy residents.
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Although several similar events exist across the country, Lake Norman's "Polar Plunge" is unique to the area.
While only five brave plungers participated in last year's event, raising $500 for the Foundation, the Point's Vice President John Gaydac anticipates 100 plungers and over $10,000 in donations for 2010.
In addition, an increased donation of $250 warrants the title of "Ice Bear," and a $1,000 donation certifies the title of "Nanook."
"There are so many people in distress these days, and it is a fantastic opportunity to build awareness and raise much needed funds," said Ascanio.
Fellow plunger Mike Watson praised Hope at the Point for its charitable work and looks forward to seeing the annual event expand to other Lake Norman neighborhoods.
Watson also remembers last year's 48-degree water temperature and has the perfect plan for this year's "Plunge."
"Naturally, pack on a few pounds and consume some adult beverages before and after the plunge," said Watson, who immediately grabs a blanket, slippers and a cocktail after climbing out of the water.
Since its establishment in 2003, when the Point's Men's Golf Association held the Scramble for Hope Golf Outing in honor of member John Self who died of brain cancer, Hope at the Point has raised over $350,000 for local charities including Mooresville Christian Mission and Fifth Street Ministries in Statesville, among others.
"The Hope at the Point Foundation was created to assist those in need in our community, specifically supporting the 'three c's' - cancer, children and community," said Gaydac.
All ages are encouraged to participate in this year's "Plunge" and to wear white in honor of the polar bear.