PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s as much a part of New Year’s Day as pork, sauerkraut and football.

For some people across the area, 2012 got off to a very chilly start with the Polar Bear Plunge at the Monongahela River.

Hundreds gathered at the Mon Wharf parking garage bright and early this New Year’s Day intent on “Freezing For a Reason.”

“It’s awesome, and it’s a rush,” said Missy Dettlinger, one of the many who took the plunge.

Each plunge into the chilly Mon River raised money for charity.

Some made the splash as a couple, others went in head first. Many dressed up for the occasion, including Santa Claus himself.

“It’s very cold, but I did it.”

Meanwhile, for Gary Cummins, the Polar Bear Plunge is a New Year’s tradition – one that he and others never quite get used to.

“Definitely cold for sure,” he said. “It shocked the heck out of me. You never know what to expect. You always expect that cold water, but I think it was a little bit colder this year.”

Polar Bear Plunges were also held in Connellsville and Parker City as well as numerous other locations across the area. All events raised money for charity.

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