Harrison Hot Springs residents Zack Martyn (left) and Danny Hong won the best costume award at the Harrison Polar Bear Swim on Jan. 1, 2020 for their “Sasquatch secret service” ensembles. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

VIDEO: Harrison Polar Bear Swim 2020 attracts more than 100 registered swimmers

A rainbow appeared over Harrison Lake just before swimmers started running toward the water

Spider-Man and two “Sasquatch secret service” agents were among more than 100 swimmers who signed waivers and took a running start at Harrison Lake on Wednesday (Jan. 1) to celebrate the new year.

After a few words from Harrison Hot Springs mayor Leo Facio, a rainbow appeared over the water, and the Harrison Polar Bear Swim participants ran down the beach and into the lake at noon.

Harrison Hot Springs residents Zack Martyn and Danny Hong were then announced the winners of the costume contest, and awarded gift certificates for Muddy Waters Cafe and for cleaning services.

Martyn, a.ka. “Tor of Forest Three,” told the Observer they dressed up as “Sasquatch secret service” agents for the swim.

“We protect the Sasquatch in the forest, so any time the Sasquatch is viewed by a human of this world, we will protect and hide the Sasquatch from any viewers,” he said, keeping in character.

Harrison Hot Springs residents Zack Martyn (left) and Danny Hong won the best costume award at the Harrison Polar Bear Swim on Jan. 1, 2020 for their “Sasquatch secret service” ensembles. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Martyn also said the water wasn’t as cold as he anticipated.

“Last year was really cold,” added Hong, a.k.a “Gar of Forest Three.”

According to Environment Canada, the high in Harrison Hot Springs on Jan. 1 was 12 degrees Celsius. But in 2019, when around 70 people participated in the swim, the temperature was only in the single digits.

RELATED: Early polar bear swim for elk at B.C. lake

Vancouver resident Pedram Amani (centre) was on vacation in Harrison Hot Springs on Jan. 1, 2020 and heard about the Polar Bear Swim a few hours before it started. He decided to participate — his first time doing a polar bear swim — and said it was a “fun” experience. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Double digit temperatures or not, the lake is fed by glacial waters, and most swimmers were running for their towels, warm clothes, a hug from the man dressed in a furry Sasquatch costume, or hot chocolate and food donated by A&W and the Black Forest Restaurant after they completed the plunge.

Non-perishable food was also being collected from participants and spectators for Agassiz-Harrison Community Services, as well as cash donations.

After counting all of the donations, executive director Grace Admiraal told the Observer they raised 64 kilograms of non-perishables and $555.90 for the local food bank.

SEE ALSO: Over 160 Christmas hampers filled for families in Agassiz and Harrison

The Harrison Polar Bear Swim on Jan. 1, 2020 was hosted by the Harrison Hot Springs Fire Department. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Down river, about 15 people ages 4 and up participated in the 8th Harrison Mills Penguin Plunge.

Organizer David Hay said the turnout set a new record for the annual event.

“We also had the moral support on many family, friends and locals on the beach,” Hay said in an email.

RELATED: Penguin Plunge

Fifteen people participated in the 8th Harrison Mills Polar Plunge on Jan. 1, 2020. (Contributed photo)



news@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Undercover video shows alleged animal abuse at Abbotsford egg farm

One employee wearing logo of Chilliwack chicken-catching company already facing abuse charges

‘Read the story’: Popkum, Rosedale history archive now available online

Book originally published in 1988 has now been digitized, thanks to local volunteers

Chilliwack museum looking for public feedback on exhibits

Online survey will help drive three-year plan for future exhibit possibilities

Mission man who nearly died from COVID-19 at Abbotsford hospital reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

ICYMI: Harrison Summer newsletter rundown

Village staff compiled an update

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Wings and Wheels set for weekend lift-off in Abbotsford

Fundraiser to raise money for Crystal Gala Foundation and the fight against breast cancer

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Most Read