Dozens take the Black Bear Polar Plunge at Kelly Park

- Dozens of people in Apopka splashed into the New Year with a Black Bear Polar Plunge at Kelly Park.

Orange County Parks and Recreation hosted the inaugural plunge at Rock Springs where the water temperature is 68-72 degrees.

“I loved it. It was quite fun,” said Jim Haley, who was one of the first people to take the plunge. “I think it’s great. We need to have more of these types of things so we can get people out into the community and have fun because this is what Florida’s all about.”

Howard Thompson, 82, was one of the oldest people to jump into the water. “I’ve been coming here for 70 years. They don’t have that many events here because it’s always so crowded but it’s a great idea."

Steven Reinhardt, a recreation specialist with Orange County Parks and Recreation Special Events, came up with the idea to do a polar plunge in Florida after seeing people in other cities do it. He said it’s just another fun way to celebrate the New Year. “I know it’s not your normal location for a polar plunge so I was looking at where we can be that’s still kind of cold for Floridians.”

Orange County Parks and Recreation hopes the Black Bear Polar Plunge will become an annual tradition.

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