“Polar Bears” might wade into the new year at Lake Lanier Olympic Park rather than taking a plunge in 2021. In October, plans were underway to remake the annual Polar Bear Plunge into a Winter Beach Bash.

“We’re looking to do a little something different … jumping off the docks is getting a little stale,” said Jim O’Dell, program director for Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club. Attendance has waned at the club’s annual New Year’s dip, partially due to high water over the docks from heavy rains in December.

In the re-imagined event, New Year’s celebrants will likely rally at the LLOP beach to make a run into the water. “People may want to run away from 2020 and into the water” to flee from the notorious year that spawned a pandemic, O’Dell speculated.

LCKC and Gainesville park officials were looking at bringing in food trucks, setting up fire pits, and staging games and competitions for a winter party. O’Dell pondered a potential relay team challenge in the water and marshmallow snowmen contests on shore.

“It will be a really fun community event,” he said. More details are expected this month.