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Health officials warn against traditional 'Polar Bear Plunge' in Chico

Public health leaders and city officials are asking the public to not participate in the annual 'Polar Plunge' at Sycamore Pool in Bidwell Park.

Posted: Dec 31, 2020 5:27 PM

CHICO, Calif. - A New Year's tradition in Chico, The Polar Bear Plunge may or may not happen in 2021. 

The event usually draws thousands of people to Sycamore Pool in Bidwell Park,  so Chico city officials are advising people against participating in it this New Year's Day as those cases continue to surge.

Every year, promptly at 1 p.m. on New Year's Day people in the community will jump into near-freezing water and swim across the creek as fast as they can.

"I think its important to keep the traditions going thats what keeps a small town going. Keeping eachother connected to others," said Amie Mcdermott, from Chico. 

She adds that she believes people will still show up to take the plunge on Friday. 

"I hope people won't because it's too small of a space for people to congregate and I don't feel like it's very safe," said Elizabeth Peña, from Chico.

The city says The Polar Bear Plunge is not organized by anyone or any entity and it does not require any sort of permit.

This means if people still decide to show up to take the plunge on Friday, there's not much the city can do about it other than advise people to continue following all guidelines.

Officials still don't know what to expect but want to remind people that if they do decide to come out to Sycamore Pool, to practice social distancing.

The Polar Bear Plunge tradition was all started by a group of friends in Chico nearly 40 years ago.

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Sunny to mostly sunny skies and mild conditions are ahead for your Thursday. A substantial warming trend takes hold of northern California on Friday and will continue through Sunday. Slightly cooler with the potential for some mountain showers next week.
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