The annual rite of passage in Bakersfield — the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge — was held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at McMurtrey Aquatic Center. The event was tailored for hardy souls aged 7 and up, with participants going down the water slide into the cold water and then swimming 25 yards. They then got out of the pool to warm up with some hot chocolate in commemoration of the new year.

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