Huge crowds at New Year's Polar Plunge at Bradford Beach

NOW: Huge crowds at New Year’s Polar Plunge at Bradford Beach


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- New Year's Day in Milwaukee means thousands coming out to Bradford Beach bright and early for the New Year's Day polar plunge.

"I'm a little bit nervous. I'm pretty excited too," said 14-year-old Maisie Whale.

She says it was a last-minute decision to come out and do it with her stepdad.

"We came back from Desert Storm, and our first year back we wanted to do something. So we decided to spur the moment last second that we should come down here and polar bear," said long-time plunger Mike Nuoffer.

He and his friends, from his time in the Air Force, have been doing the plunge for decades.

"It was freezing! But it was so good and refreshing, such a great start to the year," said one woman running out of the water.

Everyone there admitted, it's a strange tradition but one they would never miss.

"A lot of us were at the 128th in Milwaukee at one time for 440th, then of course active duty and all over the place. We get together every year and it's a great way to get back together and celebrate our friendships and what not," said Air Force veteran Bob Ewest.

They said this year hasn't been as bad as others.

"A little warmer than most years, no ice to dodge, crowds a little bigger," said Nuoffer.

Everyone enjoyed it all the same.

"It feels good. What a beautiful year. Y'all come on down next year, let's have some fun!" screamed another woman who had just escaped the clutches of Lake Michigan.

Many people said they'll be back again next year.

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