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Polar Bear Plunge canceled due to thick ice on Lake Erie

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-02 13:55:16-05

Dozens of people showed up on Monday at Edgewater Beach on the shore of Lake Erie west of Cleveland, looking forward to the 3rd Annual Cleveland Crusader's Polar Bear Plunge.

However, the plungers couldn't get into the water because the lake was frozen. Organizers tried to break a hole through the ice, but had no luck.

"Unfortunately, it's about 10 foot of marble. There's no cutting through it,” said Terry Kilbane, of Cleveland Crusaders Rugby Club.

Temperatures in the Cleveland area remained in the single digits for most of the day on Monday. 

The New Year’s Day plunge ended up being officially canceled, leaving many folks disappointed.

“I kind of symbolize that like a cleansing of everything, starting anew. That was kind of my whole plan,” said Julie Barracato, Newburgh Heights resident.

The rugby team said it does not plan to reschedule, due to concerns about the freezing being a health hazard. Meantime, the Cleveland Crusaders are still collecting donations for the Cleveland Food Bank.

This was the rugby team's first year to add a canned food drive to help those in need, as part of the plunge.