Woman takes Polar Bear Plunge despite official event's cancellation

Woman takes Polar Bear Plunge despite official event's cancellation

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - The miserable Christmas Day weather caused officials to put the kibosh on an annual New Year's Day tradition - but at least one woman said she was willing to brave the conditions and take the plunge just the same.

Officials canceled plans for the 32nd annual Polar Bear Plunge on Thursday. Each year on Jan. 1, thousands of people take part in similar events around the country, jumping into cold bodies of water to ring in the new year in a particularly icy way.

However, the heavy rains and flooding along the Tennessee River caused organizers to cancel this year's event in Decatur. Wayne Holliday cited fast currents and the risk of debris floating in the water among their concerns.

"It just seemed like a good ideal to call it off - no matter how sad that makes me," said Holliday.

Despite the official cancellation, we met up with a woman who decided to take the chilly dip Friday morning.

"I've been doing it for 13 years," said Serena McCulloch. "They said don't. I just figured I'd come down here and see what it was like and do it anyway."

There were some cars that pulled in to the boat harbor late Friday morning, and some people acted as if they were considering making the leap of faith... but during our time there, Serena was the only one brave enough to take on the cold temperatures when she took her plunge around noon.

Serena said she had no concerns over the safety of the water, and she made it up from her frigid plunge unscathed.

She said there were others nearby who said they would jump - but they didn't during our cameraman's visit. So, Serena can have bragging rights as to being the only one taking the Polar Bear Plunge in Decatur this year.

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