Polar Plunge canceled in Chicago, but Waukegan plunges on

Frigid temperatures canceled an annual Polar Plunge event in Chicago early Monday, but daring plungers in north suburban Waukegan did jump into Lake Michigan.

The American Greyhound Inc., which raises money to rehome retired racing greyhounds, posted on Facebook that it was just too dangerous to plunge into North Avenue Beach. Temperatures were below zero Monday morning in Chicago.

"The weather threw us a curveball this year but all of our wonderful volunteers showed up ready plunge. Due to the frigid weather, our volunteers decided it was safest to remain land bound. We couldn't be more grateful for their efforts and your donations! Happy New Year and we look forward to 2018," the post read.

However, 19th Annual Waukegan Polar Bear Plunge hosted by the Waukegan Park District and the city of Waukegan, went on as planned at the Waukegan Municipal Beach.

The plunge was just one of the ways Chicago area residents showed off their hardiness even in the face of the harshest conditions.

Sitting on top of a frozen Calumet River for hours may sound crazy, but not for the ice fishermen who found the perch-filled river too much of a temptation.

"As long as you bundle up. Layers of clothing. We're comfortable now," said Luis Zuniga, ice fisherman.
"I've got the electronics. It's almost like playing a video game. You can see the fish, you put the bait down and grab it. It's peaceful. Come out here, relax," said Kevin Kursza, ice fisherman.

Others ran a New Year's Day 5K followed by a brisk walk along Michigan Avenue.

"Today I went to run a 5K. Brutal cold. Brutal cold to the bone. I'm doing that for 25 years," said Marianac Zoretic.

But truth be told, most folks were not nearly that adventurous. The usually-crowded Michigan Avenue saw little foot traffic Monday other than from tourists, as most residents preferred to seek out indoor activities. Chicago museums were a popular option among those seeking shelter from the cold.

"I prefer doing that than outside activities at this point. It's just too cold," Tim Welch said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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