Photo by Ray Welch

On New Year’s Day, many people in the community participated in the 18th annual Polar Bear Dip in Cumberland Gap. Pictured is Tammy Elliott, who took the leap into the Gap Creek to honor her friend, Nina Shoemaker, who has MS.

Polar Bear Dip brings a cold start to a new year

On New Year’s Day, in addition to making the typical resolutions, several people in the community kicked off 2019 by participating in the 18th annual Polar Bear Dip in Cumberland Gap.

The event was canceled last year, but a small group of dedicated swimmers took the leap and kept the tradition alive this year.

The Cumberland Gap Fire Department sponsored the event, and some newcomers joined in to start a new tradition.

The town of Cumberland Gap has been celebrating the new year in just this way for nearly two decades by dipping into the cold Gap Creek.

Each year at noon on Jan. 1, onlookers as well as jumpers gather in front of the Little Congress Bicycle Museum to splash into the New Year.