I have no idea how many people to expect at the Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday morning, but I do know the details:

The Time: Expect to arrive around 8:45 a.m. and swim — if you’re swimming — around 9:30.

The Place: The Mon Wharf, otherwise known as the parking area underneath the Parkway East that floods anytime someone sneezes. The entrance — a ramp down to the lot — is at Wood Street and Fort Pitt Boulevard:

(Follow that yellow sign to the right, boys and girls…)

The specific place: The Crappy Entourage will try to arrive around 8:30. We’ll tweet our location as soon as we get set up, but I suspect we’ll be close to where we were a year ago (the side of the lot closer to the Point).

The event: As I said before, if you’re swimming, everyone starts jumping in around 9:30. If you’re a newbie, here’s what to expect: Cold. Really cold. Colder than anything you’ve ever experienced. But that lasts just a few minutes once you get out of the water and into warm towels, blankets and clothes. If you’re not swimming, be prepared to help people out of the water, take pictures or shoot video and and yell for the nutjobs who are.

The after part: I am pleased to say that after the plunge, we’ll be returning to our original post-plunge celebration location: Ruggers Pub, on the South Side:

Our after party will be hosted by AAA, generally known here at Uncle Crappy as The World’s Greatest Bartender, and I’m told we’ll also have the kitchen fired up and ready for us by 10 a.m. After we eat and drink, I imagine no one would mind if you stay at Ruggers for the Winter Classic — if they get the game in — or for all 83 bowl games televised on New Year’s Day.

I can’t think of a better way to start 2011 that a dip in 40-degree water, followed by beer and cheeseburgers with some of my best friends anywhere. I hope to see you there.


  1. A tip for the swimmers (and by “swimmers”, I mean “very cold people with no motor control flailing around trying not to die”- yes – that comes from experience): Buy some Hot Hands handwarmers and wrap a bunch of them in a blanket you don’t mind getting wet. When you get out, you’ll have a nice, warm blanket to wrap yourself in (also from experience)


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