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Record crowd swamps Brackett's Landing North for Polar Plunge


Last updated 1/9/2020 at 10:59am

Phillip Borchert

Phillip Borchert took this image of the beginning of the plunge into Brackett's Landing North in Edmonds.

What started with just a few adventurous Edmonds residents – fueled by Rainier beer and wrapped in white bathrobes – has now grown into a top regional event in south Snohomish County.

The New Year's Day tradition, officially the Edmonds Polar Bear Plunge, was created in Edmonds by Daphnes Bar owner Brian Taylor.

He was inspired by a 1930s photo hanging in the Main Street bar picturing the Edmonds Uplift Society, a drinking club formed during Prohibition.

For the first 10 years, the Edmonds Uplift Society sponsored the event, which begins at Daphnes and ends at the park.

In 2017, Taylor announced that the Edmonds Uplift Society had closed its membership books and retired its signature white bathrobes.

Lee Lageschulte

Jeremy Ball carris his 6-year-old son, Ethan, on his shoulders after emerging from Puget Sound.

But the closure of the Uplift Society didn't mean the fun had to end. On Wednesday, members and others gathered at Daphnes, where they joined in the traditional Rainier beer toast (it's a Pacific Northwest thing) to the original Edmonds Uplift Society and sang "God Bless America" before marching down to the beach.

Anyone in a robe was welcomed to join the toast and singing.

The Polar Plunge has traditionally acted as a fundraiser for the Edmonds Historical Museum.

And, as it has in recent years, Daphnes contributed $500 to the museum, as did Jeff Barnett, owner and brewer at Salish Sea Brewing Co. on Dayton Street.

What's in store for 2021?

More of the same, no doubt, but Taylor mentioned he's considering a marching band to accompany plungers from Daphnes to the waterfront for the 20th anniversary in 2027.

There's more good news, although it's a bit mysterious: "I am activating the Edmonds Uplift Society, and have an event or two up my sleeve," Taylor said. "Neither will involve jumping into ice-cold water."


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