EDMONDS — Penny Watridge carried a big container of hot cocoa and a stack of plastic cups. She was happy to stay on the beach.
Her son, Jack, and a group of his friends from Edmonds-Woodway High School ran into Puget Sound at Brackett’s Landing on Monday afternoon. They and dozens of others were taking part in the annual Edmonds Polar Bear Plunge. Just as many people gathered to watch.
A few of the adults needed more than cocoa. Cigars and beers are among the traditions, along with bathrobes and goofy hats. Some, like Edith Farrar, 64, get the years of their plunges embroidered on their robes. Hers start with 2008.
“I was one of the originals,” she said.
The event “has a nice community feel,” she said.
Gary Ocher, 58, was joined by several of his neighbors, including Eric Dubbury.
“We’re all from the same street in Edmonds,” Dubbury said. “We’re the Alder Street Bonfire Clan, or you can say cult.”
Ocher had roped in his friend Lori Smith, 56, of Moscow, Idaho. Thanks to him, she’s also a veteran of the Edmonds Fourth of July parade.
Some in their group shared flasks of Johnnie Walker. Someone else asked, relunctantly, “Do I have to drink a Rainier?”
Then everyone headed to the beach.
After the plunge, Rebecca and Gage Wagoner, of Shoreline, congratulated their daughter Lola, 16, on dunking in her head, too. Not everyone was so brave.
“It wasn’t that cold once you got in there, if you don’t think about it,” Lola said.
Plus, she had moral support.
“Dad held the towel,” said her mother. “I took the video.”