Hundreds charge into Lake Michigan for the 2014 Polar Plunge

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's a New Year tradition in Milwaukee that's decades old. On Wednesday, January 1st, hundreds of people jumped into the frigid water of Lake Michigan, taking part in the annual Polar Bear Plunge.

Some who took the plunge on Wednesday have been doing so for decades -- and they even dressed up before they dressed down.

"I got this polar bear costume that I made with my Wisconsin tie on, I got the tail and the ears you can see," said Daniel Kirkpatrick.

But out-of-town visitors like California native Sharon McCray were shocked with what they saw.

"It was amazing it was just like these people are totally nuts but it was really neat. It's something I've never seen before," said McCray.

The snow, freezing temperatures and ice may have slowed the plungers -- but it did not stop them entirely.

"It's not too bad until you get your neck underneath the water and it's like you're getting stabbed all over your body. It basically just sucks the wind right out of your lungs," said Brian Barachy.

Many of the Polar Bear Plungers say now that this challenge has been met, they're ready for whatever 2014 has to bring.