Celebrate New Year’s during first-ever polar bear plunge at Lake Ronkonkoma

The northern shore of Lake Ronkonkoma along Smithtown Boulevard as seen Tuesday, Dec. 29, at sunset.

LAKE RONKONKOMA, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — Get ready to celebrate the first day of 2021 with a dip in the chilly winter waters of Lake Ronkonkoma.

The first-ever polar bear plunge at the lake will take place Friday, Jan. 1, at noon, along the northern lakeshore on Smithtown Boulevard in Lake Ronkonkoma.

Hosted by the Lake Ronkonkoma Improvement Group, the event is free and open to anyone—whether someone wants to take a quick plunge into the water or stand along the shore to cheer on those brave enough to take a dip on a chilly winter day. The OnSachem weather forecast for Lake Ronkonkoma on Friday calls for a high temperature in the low 40s and mostly cloudy skies.

Matt Balkam, Co-Founder of the Lake Ronkonkoma Improvement Group, said the polar bear plunge is one way the all-volunteer organization is restoring the lake.

“When we started the group four-and-a-half years ago, the first thing was to clean up the lake,” Balkam said. “The second was to clean up, beautify, and bring back the community.”

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Balkam added, “We’re doing the polar plunge to try something new, something that’s fun.”

There is no advance registration. Anyone interested in joining or watching can attend. Participants can park at Parsnip Lake House, 432 Smithtown Blvd., and walk a few feet to the shore. After the plunge, everyone is welcome inside Parsnip Lake House.

Organizers said attendees are asked to practice appropriate social distancing at all times because of the pandemic.

For questions before the event, email evllgrff@verizon.net.

More stories about the Lake Ronkonkoma Improvement Group from OnSachem News

OnSachem News has covered the Lake Ronkonkoma Improvement Group throughout the year. Here's a look at the stories from 2020.

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