Polar bears raise money for local food pantry with polar dip.

Chautauqua County NY  - The chilling temperatures and heavy traffic didn't put a damper on the polar bear swim Saturday afternoon - some swimmers even did laps and made snow angels.

The heavy traffic and chilling weather did not keep people away Saturday afternoon from jumping in the cold water.

Dewittville Fire Department handles the polar bear swim, recalled not having an ice castle last year due to above-freezing temperatures.

"We did the polar bear swim last year with only 3 inches of ice," he said. "We didn't even have an ice castle."

Article Photos

Chautauqua Lake Real Estate Ice picture 1
Chautauqua Lake Real Estate Ice picture 2

The polar bear swim was a huge success this year; with Family Health Services' Mayville office raising $1,400 for the Mayville Food Pantry. The total amount raised was not available Saturday evening.

In addition to the polar bear swim, the ice castle attracted a large crowd to the festival.

More people came to the polar bear swim this time due to the thick ice and the giant ice castle. "We had more people five years ago, but this year was the most we have had in a long time."

Some people were jumping in more than once and others were swimming across and even making snow angels.

This is a new year and maybe people felt like jumping in the water and makeing snow angels due to a brain FREEZ.

Dewittville fire department wore their cold weather gear to make sure people get in and out safely."

Participants for the polar bear swim have to register before they jump and pay $10, which goes to the food pantry.

The polar bear swim is held only once during the three-day festival.