Do you know where your swimsuit is? You’ll need it Monday morning for the Natural Resources Council of Maine’s annual Polar Bear Dip & Dash in Portland. It’s the 11th one organized by the organization, which has been advocating for environmental and sustainability issues since 1959.

The event is not a competition to see who is crazier about getting into cold water; it’s a way to raise money to protect the environment and fight climate change. The event falls on New Year’s Eve; who doesn’t want to fundraise and freeze before the feting of the New Year? Last year’s event, in cold so bitter the dip part of the event was canceled, raised more than $30,000. The very first year, 2009, it had 14 participants. Last year there were 140.

The day starts at 9 a.m. when registration for the 5K opens. The actual race is at 11 a.m. and takes you around Back Cove to East End Beach, where the group will take the plunge together. Not only do the entry fees help raise money for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, participants have an opportunity to raise more money through sponsorship. Raise $1,000 and you get a really fancy prize: a mountain biking vacation package. Visit the registration pages at for more information.

A shuttle will take you back to the parking lot after your bone-chilling swim.


WHAT: Polar Bear Dip & Dash

WHEN: Monday, 9 a.m. until about 12:10.

WHERE: Day-of registration for the dash is at the Back Cove parking area, across from the Hannaford in Portland. If you just want to dip, meet at East End Beach starting at 11 a.m. to register.

HOW: Register in advance by visiting the events page at

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