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All invited to Barton Springs Polar Bear plunge

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Austinites and visitors alike are invited to join Friends of Barton Springs Pool Polar Bear Club as they make their annual leap into the pool at 9:45 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Former city employee Clarke Hammond, who passed away two years ago, is credited with starting the leap 40 years ago, and his friends in the club named him “Grand Poobah.” Among those attending will be former Mayor Lee Leffingwell and his former aide, Matt Curtis. Curtis said in a news release, “This is an exciting opportunity to refresh your soul in the waters of Austin. This is what makes Austin Austin, and what makes the start of every new year magical.” Leffingwell noted that the weather may be cold, but it has not stopped Austinites in the past from leaping into their favorite local swimming hole. “This is about a shared adventure of being an Austinite, the wonder of celebrating a beginning with friends, a reminder that we have a unique ecological treasure in the heart of our city, and the positive renewal of spirit that we experience on the first day of every new year,” Leffingwell said.

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