Taking The New Year's Plunge (VIDEO & PHOTOS)

By Rachelle Spence - 21Alive
By Eric Dutkiewicz - 21Alive
By Ian Hoover - 21Alive

January 1, 2014 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 12:43 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - Call 'em brave or call 'em crazy. Hundreds of people rang in the new year by running into the icy water at Johnny Appleseed Park today.

I actually joined the crowd for the annual Polar Bear Plunge.

New Year's Day and all of about 20-degrees in Fort Wayne, participants mostly dressed in just their bathing suits.

You might think these people I joined are crazy, and you're probably right.

From chicken costumes, to barely-there Speedos, I saw it all.

Many Polar Bear Plunge veterans offered words of advice.

"Go in fast! Just don't even think about it," said one group of young troopers.

The Fort Wayne Water Rescue team was on standby as everyone, including myself, dashed toward the Saint Joseph River.

"It went real smooth. We had a big crowd. There were a lot of people and it was bitterly cold, but it went very smoothly," said Tom Helmkamp with the Fort Wayne Fire Department.

With frozen hair and eyebrows, I asked people if they would do it again next year. Everyone responded with a quick "definitely."

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