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(Photo: Dorchester Polar Dip )

Take a polar dip in Dorchester for New Year’s Day

By Tara Clow Dec 29, 2023 | 1:21 PM

For the past 31 years, hundreds have taken the plunge into Palmers Pond to help ring in the New Year.

Dorchester Fire Chief Greg Patridge has been involved since the start.

“The very first one was kind of a dare. Four guys met the night before and had a few drinks. It started officially the next year.”

Partridge did the jump for around 10 years.

“Depending on the temperature, people are there earlier than they stay later. Sometimes hot chocolate is served and extra things are going on. But some years it has been 30-below and in 20 minutes it was all over,” Patridge adds.

Over the years, they’ve had anywhere from 20 to 50 jumpers take the plunge into the 8-by-10 hole cut into the ice. Last year, warmer temperatures and thin ice kept them from venturing out onto the pond. They had to use a separate pool full of cold water instead.

Patridge says they need about four inches of ice to ensure it is safe for the jumpers.

“A lot of jumpers come in costume, that’s something that started around 10 years ago. It’s kind of neat to see what people come up with,” Patridge says.

Members of the Dorchester Fire and Rescue team are always on hand to ensure safety. Participants jump in, and firefighters then pull them quickly from the water.

Patridge adds there have never been any emergencies that he can recall.

Participants come from all across North America to participate.

“It used to be Dorchester residents, and then it was students from Mount A in Sackville. Nowadays it could be anyone visiting others for Christmas who just decide to come and do the Polar Dip,” Partridge says.

He adds that most are return participants.

Funds used to go to the Dorchester Lions Club, but Patridge says it had to be dissolved due to COVID. Donations are now going to the Dorchester Fire Department and to the Station8 Community Food Hub.

The polar dip is now being organized by the group Greater Dorchester Moving Forward.

Registration for the Plunge is at 12:30 p.m. on January 1st and the dip is at 1 p.m. The minimum cost is $25.

More details can be found here.

(Photo: courtesy of Greater Dorchester Moving Forward)