Goodwill Chill 2009: Sunday Photograph

Goodwill chill

Sunday photograph by David Frank Dempsey One of more than a dozen groups made the quick freeze plunge into the 39-degree water of Beaver
Lake at Prairie Creek Park during the Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday. The costumes, after all, are the centerpiece of the annual Polar Bear Plunge, with so many costumed divers waiting on the Prarie Creek beach, dancing in place to ward off the wind-blown cold off Beaver Lake and in anticipation of the sub-40-degree waters. There were a group of Martians, fashioned after Loony Toons’ Marvin, and a pair of skunks. A Supergirl from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and a ton of hillbillies. When you add the water, it becomes “Let’s Make a Deal” meets “Double Dare.” Hundreds of frozen faces only reinforced the comparison: looks of shock, wide-eyed with mouths wide open like the beginning of an “Oh my God that’s cold!” They are all familiar to the game show connoisseurs for their similarities to contestant reactions when the curtains parted to reveal a donkey or the bucket of slime finally fell. And the crowds at the Polar Bear Plunge react the same way as those in the studio audiences, with laughs and cheers and jeers and groans. With all of the over-the-top costumes, some disguises were more subtle. Steve Polk, a Springdale resident, was dressed as someone who had done this before. His shirt bore the logo of Special Olympics, the beneficiary of the fundraising plunge, while his left sleeve declared, “I survived.” But Polk hadn’t survived anything yet. This was his first year, and he was given the shirt at registration. “I put my toe in,” Polk told his plunging buddy, Tony Greer, of Bella Vista. “It’s cold.”
But that was as far as Polk had ventured, even though his shirt said he had already survived. He threw the shirt on over the tank top he was wearing, as the sleeveless white T-shirt was ill-suited for keeping out the cold, but his legs were still exposed below his shorts.

Event Location:
Event Date and Time:
Starts at: