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Sunny skies, chilly water greets Vernon polar bear dippers

Popular Vernon Winter Carnival event held in cold Okanagan Lake at Paddlewheel Hall on final Carnival day
Angela Case Ryll (left) was among the 20 or so hearty people who ventured into the digit-numbing waters of Okanagan Lake Sunday, Feb. 13, during the Vernon Winter Carnival Polar Battery Polar Bear Dip at Paddlewheel Hall. Case Ryll actually went in and out of the water three times. (Roger Knox - Morning Star).

Colder than an ice cream cone?


Colder than a Freezie treat?

Oh yep.

Young Wyatt Horncastle’s answers to how cold Okanagan Lake was Sunday, Feb. 13, were short and sweet, mainly because his teeth were chattering away after he bravely ventured in and out of the lake.

Horncastle, seven, a student at Lumby’s J.W. Inglis Elementary, was among the brave souls taking part in the family and kids’ portion of the popular Vernon Winter Carnival Polar Battery Polar Bear Dip at Paddlewheel Hall, one of the final events of the 62nd Carnival.

About 20 people entered the water under sunny and cloudless skies as the entry siren went off at High Noon.

An adult dip was slated for 1 p.m.

Horncastle put his foot in the water and came right back to dry land at the start. After everybody had spent a couple of minutes in the chilly lake and came out to dry off, Horncastle then surprised his family by taking off and running into the empty lake, out about 20 yards from shore, flopped into and under the water, then raced out to his towel, bathrobe and the cozy confines of his mom’s side.

Now an experienced Polar Bear Dipper, Horncastle will surely take part in another one, right?

“Nope,” he said. “Too cold.”

Vernon’s Angela Case Ryll said she gets cold in Mexico. To overcome that, she took part in her first Carnival Polar Bear Dip a couple of years ago. On Sunday, she was joined by her son, Declan, seven, decked out in his Captain Antarctica mask, for the first dip.

Yes, that’s right, first dip. Case Ryll went in not once, not twice, but three times.

“It’s fresh, it was exhilarating,” said Case Ryll, dressed up as Queen Chrystal, a character of her creation, complete with tiara and gold sparkles. “I was so pleasantly surprised (two years ago). It wasn’t that scary. I got over a major fear and this year I was like ‘let’s do it for the Zimbabwe Project.’”

Proceeds from the Polar Bear Dip, which included an indoor market inside the Paddlewheel Hall, hot dogs and hot chocolate (by donation), went to the Vernon-based Zimbabwe Project, founded by Vernon’s Angela Yablonski, who was at the dip Sunday dressed as a polar bear.

The Zimbabwe Project Society assists children and families in Zimbabwe by creating opportunities for education, health care and employment through the development of sustainable businesses and community development.

READ MORE: Last day for Vernon Winter Carnival 2022

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Lumby’s Wyatt Horncastle, seven, warms up after an event dash in, under and out of Okanagan Lake Sunday, Feb. 13, during the Vernon Winter Carnival Polar Battery Polar Bear Dip at Paddlewheel Hall. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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