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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
FILE PHOTOS BY HEATHER N. GRIMMER/CONTRIBUTOR - The Polar Bear Queen Contest is always popular with the cameras. Here's the race to the water on March 6, 2011. 

The Polar Bear Swim for Sight takes place this Sunday at Olcott Beach.

Swimmers in costume is something to
expect at Sunday's Polar Bear Swim.
The event serves as a fundraiser for the Olcott Lions Club, which has been doing it for 45 years now. Similar to a walkathon — but much colder — swimmers raise contributions, participate in the Polar Bear Swim and receive a t-shirt and other rewards based on various contribution levels.

It's all fun and games until
... no, pretty much it's just
all fun and games.
While the Lions Club hopes that each swimmer will try to raise $100 for the cause, there is a minimum required of at least $20. Most swimmers collect contributions from friends, family, and acquaintances. Many get their workplace involved and co-workers help them raise funds in and outside the workplace. Some simply pay their own $20 for the opportunity to jump in the freezing cold water with friends and random strangers.

Swimmers may register on-site beginning at 11 a.m., where they are asked to provide their contribution and receive their t-shirt and other eligible rewards on the day of the swim at the Lions Pavilion in Olcott’s Krull Park. They they follow the beach for the 2 p.m. swim. Swimmers under the age of 18 have their own swim at 1:50 p.m., just after the 1:45 Polar Bear Queen contest.

Swimmers are advised to arrive early and bring sneakers, a towel and blanket, dry clothes, a camera, friends and a spotter.

Spectators are welcome. Viewing areas are marked on the grass near the beach.

Following the swim, many Olcott businesses are open serving food and beverages.

Who doesn't love a good swim in Lake Ontario in early March? 

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