Northwoods Adventure: Negative Temperatures Don’t Scare People From Taking The Polar Plunge In Hackensack
With wind chills well into the negatives, Birch Lake in Hackensack was occupied with dozens of brave people over the weekend who were excited to jump into the frozen lake. The polar plunge was just one of the many events taking place in Hackensack on Saturday.
Ice sculptures, a fishing contest, and a silent auction were all part of a weekend-long Back to Hack festival in Hackensack.
“It’s kind of an event for locals,” Dan Meier, the polar plunge MC, said. “We have an event in the summer where the lake people come; this event was put together for the locals that stick around, you get to see them, and it’s a good event.”
There was a fish fry at the fire house, a bake sale at the legion, and it seemed as if every part of Hackensack had something going on.
“It’s a small town where everyone works together for the success of all of us,” Steve Hoopman, Legion Post 202 Service Officer, said.
“The festival is great, it’s all about people,” Craig Wadzink, a Faith in Action Board Member, said. “It’s the community coming together, young and old, and enjoying what winter is.”
But the main event of the Back to Hack festival was happening on ice. Dozens of people dressed in crazy costumes decided to jump into a hole in Birch Lake to raise money for a good cause.
“Last year, I think there was only three jumpers, and we jumped last year just to make it happen,” Meier said. “We had a good crew [this year].”
Not even the subzero temperatures could stop people from taking the plunge.
“Go for it, try it at least once in your life,” Brandon Wolske, a polar plunger, said.
“If you’re hesitant…get it off your bucket list, it’s not that bad.” Rebecca Markus, a polar plunger, said.
To get the honor of jumping in the lake, teams had to raise money for Faith in Action, a non-profit organization based in Hackensack.
“To sum it up, it’s really neighbors helping neighbors,” Wadzink said. “It’s getting local volunteers in any different area help those that are less fortunate.”
Over $5,000 dollars was raised at the plunge for Faith in Action, and the festival plans to be Back at Hack for its 25th year in 2020.