Annual Polar Bear Swim held


OBSERVER Photos by Natasha Matteliano Above, Bills fans enjoy the Polar Bear Swim in Silver Creek Sunday.

Silver Creek’s Firehouse was filled with excited on-lookers on Sunday, waiting for the courageous folks to jump in the freezing lake.

With Lake Erie being at a chilly 37 degrees, the air at 32 degrees and the “Feels Like” at 21 degrees, it was an extemely bitter-cold afternoon for lake jumpers. The annual Polar Bear Swim started promptly at 1 p.m., with lots of residents and even government officials ready to run into the biting lake.

The swimmers all donned unique and funny costumes, such as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from The Cat in the Hat, polar bear onesies and pajamas.

Former Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello wore a Thing 1 costume this year, changing it up from the kilt he wore last year. “We are so ready!” said Borrello. “We are gonna run right in.”

The brave souls lasted in the water for about three minutes, then coming back out from the water to the nippy wind, which made them even more chilled. From young kids to older folks, lots of people participated in the swim this year.

State Senator George Borrello participated as “Thing 1” from the Dr. Seuss universe.

Of course, the Silver Creek Fire Department and Rescue Squad were there, watching over the jumpers just to make sure everything went smoothly. These are two of the beneficiaries of the proceeds from the event, including more such as the Sunset Bay Fire Department, the Food Pantry and others.

Non-swimming events included Fantasy Black Jack, Chinese Auction, music by Rock ‘n Roll to the Rescue, chili and other food, a full bar and raffles. Lots of attendees brought non-perishable items to be donated to Food Pantry.


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