Cowichan Lake finishes 2019, kicks off 2020 with family fun

New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop is a great favourite with Cowichan Lake families as it winds up the annual Family New Year celebration at Cowichan Lake Sports Arena on Dec. 31. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Cowichan Lake children enjoy the annual New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop at the arena Dec. 31. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
All ages enjoy a noon time dip in Cowichan Lake on New Year’s Day. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
With some participants coming from as far away as California, the Polar Bear Swim at Cowichan Lake’s Lakeview Park was a great success this year. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Temperatures of 10 degrees and a bright sky helped make Lake Cowichan’s Polar Bear Swim a real success this year. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
‘Baby, it’s cold outside’ seems to be the tune for these Polar Bear Swimmers at Cowichan Lake on New Year’s Day. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Brrrisk! That was the verdict from these Polar Bear Swimmers on New Year’s Day at Cowichan Lake’s Lakeview Park. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
It seems half the fun of running in is kicking up plenty of water on everyone else as these polar bear enthusiasts make the dash into Cowichan Lake on New Year’s Day. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette) It seems half the fun of running in is kicking up plenty of water on everyone else as these polar bear enthusiasts make the dash into Cowichan Lake on New Year’s Day. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)
Not everyone was ready to swim so having a nifty blue kayak on hand made it perfect. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette) Not everyone was ready to swim so having a nifty blue kayak on hand made it perfect. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

On New Year’s Eve, many families were delighted to be able to shelter from a downpour of rain and have a fun evening with the kids at Cowichan Lake Sports Arena.

With food, ice skating, and crafts, a big crowd was kept well entertained until 6:45 when it was time for the annual balloon drop. The kids raucously counted down from 10, and then, hands up, they captured the balloons as they fell from the big net overhead.

A polar bear swim at Lakeview Park had been arranged for New Year’s Day but with the night so wet, organizers wondered if enthusiasm would be dampened.

They need not have worried. The day dawned, clear and reasonably warm, and a crowd of brave souls and their warmly jacketed supporters trooped happily down to the lake for a dip.

By the time noon arrived, organizer Bear Hamilton had 15-20 swimmers lined up raring to go. They even included some visitors from California.

After a countdown, in they ran, splashing, gasping, and laughing.

Hamilton, who brought his truck down onto the beach so he could serve hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, and doughnuts to the happy crowd, said he was delighted with the turnout, and plans to start organizing earlier next year so the event can grow.

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