People jump in the New River to ring in the new year

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – People are plunging into the not-so-icy New River on New Year’s Day.

It’s a tradition that normally greets people who dare to try it with freezing waters, now only greeting them with a little bit of rain instead.

Temperatures stayed in the mild 60s Saturday for the New Year’s Day Annual Polar Plunge.

While it may not have been the typical icy thrill everyone who participates was after, it was a thrill, nonetheless.

“This is going to be the warmest Polar Plunge that I can remember being a part of, so I think we are going to have a lot of participation this year,” says Tabitha Stover, Executive Director of the Fayetteville Visitor Center.

While this year’s plunge did come with a limited number of participants due to COVID-19, the warmer temperatures still had people flocking to the river bank to be part of the bold New Year’s Day custom.

“Last year it was quite colder, very significant difference, I don’t think this year will be that bad,” says Maya Jarrett, a participant of the Polar Plunge event.

It’s a tradition that’s been going on throughout cultures around the world for hundreds of years. People see it as a meaningful and refreshing way to kick the new year off right.

“It’s a great way to start the year, right,” Debbie Graff, another participant in the event says.

“It’s a nice, refreshing start,” Maya Jarrett says.

“It’s invigorating, it’s a way to connect to nature, it’s a way to connect to yourself, and I just love it, it’s like my happiest New Year tradition,” adds Elizabeth Jarrett.

If you’re feeling up to the challenge for next year, you can already start registering for the free Polar Plunge event at the New River by visiting the Fayetteville Visitor Center on the web.

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