NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Let me set the scene for you.
Jan. 1, 2018. Hanging out on the beach with 12 degree temperatures. Sound a little bit crazy? That’s not nearly as crazy as the 50 people who jumped into the water with 33 degree water temperatures.
Margaret Ottenbreit, President of Elm City Park Conservancy explained, “So we said, ‘Let’s just do it. It is what it is, who shows up shows up.’ And I’m surprised this many people showed up.”
Over the past 16 years, thousands have come out to Lighthouse Point Park to celebrate winter and support the parks in New Haven with food, fun, and a little bit of craziness! The Plunge for Parks usually brings out hundreds to jump into Long Island Sound, but this year’s cold brought a few less to take the plunge, in good spirits regardless!
Chris Pettker, New Haven resident, mentioned, “I enjoy the parks every summer, less in the winter. This gives me the chance to enjoy the park during the winter and give some awareness to the park.”
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“This is a great way to start the new year. If I’m alive and well, this is a blessing for me to do it,” noted Loreen Lawrence, forth year plunger.
Some went in just to be brave.
Marcus Zikaras of North Haven said, “I don’t know, I went in just because my dad was doing it. Peer pressure kind of thing.”
Others have been doing it for decades, like Bob Brunelli.
“I’ve been doing it since I was 68…Anybody my age has got to have enough sense not to do this.” noted the 83-year-old.
And as you might assume, the consensus was that it was rough out there with the coldest temps since the plunge started!
News 8’s Sam Kantrow asked the many people who jumped into the water what the hardest part was. Their response, “It was just slippery because the bottom was covered in ice!”