Nearly 200 plunge into the new year

Most of the participants didn’t linger long in the water at the New Year’s Day Polar Plunge in Parker. (By Richard Sayer)

While many people were still sleeping off a late night of New Year’s Eve celebrations, a hearty bunch of close to 200 crowded along the bank of the Allegheny River in Parker on Sunday for what has become a tradition in the small town, the New Year’s Day Polar Plunge.

The sound of a cannon at 2 p.m. signaled participants to run into the river, but they then sprinted out toward the warm comfort of a nearby fire.

The temperature was about 41 degrees at the time of the plunge, but the water temperature was even lower.

Event organizer Bob Bowser estimated the crowd raised more than $3,000 through T-shirt sales, raffles and donations.

The event benefits Camo Care’s Hunt of the Lifetime, the Boys and Girls Club, local fire departments and children’s charities.