Becky Johnson, news editor for The Smoky Mountain News, was among the “deep water plungers” leaping head long into the 46 degree water from a dock extending into the lake, thanks to community donors who ponied up for the noble cause of Haywood Waterways — or maybe just to see her get dunked. The plungers sputtered to the surface and willed their flailing limbs to dog paddle back to the raging bonfire on shore.
A second wave of plungers then rushed into the water from the Lake Junaluska beach, surging forward as far as they could — some to their waists, some to their necks and some over their heads — until common sense prevailed and they turned back.
Silver painted toilet plungers were given out to top fundraisers and best costumes, which ranged from caped and hooded super heroes to hippies to mohawked punk rockers.
The Polar Plunge was a huge success raising more than $9,000 for Kids in the Creek. The long-standing Haywood Waterways programs puts every eighth grader in the county in touch with water quality and aquatic biology through a series of hands-on science lessons during an all-day stream field trip.