LAKE GEORGE -- Organizers of Lake George's annual New Year's Day Polar Plunge are having to adapt to skyrocketing attendance.
Lake George's celebration of the new year and kickoff to the community's winter festivities has traditionally consisted of a single wave of revelers descending on the icy water.
But more than 2,000 people registered last year, nearly twice of the event's usual attendance. And some in-the-moment scheduling changes prompted by the unforeseen volume of participants will become the norm this year.
Three waves of humanity will rush to the water at Shepard Park Beach beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday.
"It's gotten bigger and bigger every year," said plunge organizer Linda Duffy. "The weather's expected to be mild again this year, so we're prepared for it."
A single 2 p.m. horn has historically signaled the plunge. This year, the first 700 registered swimmers will get their signal at 2 p.m., with two additional plunges at 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The scheduling change was prompted by concerns voiced last year by emergency officials, who worried that keeping track of so many people in the water at one time would be nearly impossible.
The expanded schedule isn't the only change to the 39-year-old event.
A Zumba demonstration and a disk jockey will be ongoing in Shepard Park starting at 1 p.m.
And what's likely to be another welcome addition for participants will make its debut this year: a changing tent.
Organizers urge participants to bring footwear for the plunge and a change of clothes for after the event.
"We're really trying to make it an all-day thing," Duffy said.
Registration begins at Duffy's Tavern at 10 a.m. Participation is free, but a $10 donation gets participants a Polar Plunge long-sleeve T-shirt. The proceeds will go to local churches and the Lake George Winter Carnival Committee for the month-long annual celebration of snow and ice in February.