Pete's legend goes way back when he was just a lad, growing up on the banks of the Big Detroit Lake, near the ice house, where they harvested ice. Back then, the harvested ice was used for many things, but mostly to keep things cold and preserve things, like food and medicines for the town's people, stores, and community.
So, obviously, this was a much needed industry, and it benefited the community a great deal. However, it was also a dangerous and risky job, and sometimes one of the men would fall in the freezing water of the lake, and everyone would gather around to watch and help the poor fellow out, get him warm, and then back to work.
Well, this happened quite often, and the men would all have a great time laughing about it afterwards. Sharing their stories and teasing each other was a real form of entertainment for those men. Living in the cold North Country, there just weren't a lot of fun things to do, that also built such a comradery among those that experienced those cold freezing waters, and the team effort it took to get them out of that icy water.
Now, Pete was always a sort of curious boy, almost to the point of being reckless in this curiosity. He could hardly wait till he was old enough to join the men in their ice harvesting, and almost ritual form of entertainment in the cold freezing waters. Pete found it fascinating and deep in his heart, he desired to share this experience, of falling into those ridged, polar-like temperatures.
He imagined how invigorating it must feel when you come out. The thought of hitting those icy waters must be exhilarating, and his excitement drew him all the more to become an ice harvester, and join the company of those, so admired men before him.
Finally, Pete became old enough, and he, of course, hired on with the ice harvesters, and loved every day of it. Then came the day, the day he'd been waiting for, the day of his greatest anticipation. He fell in the biting cold, polar-like, water. It was shocking, it took his breath away, and he thought he might die. The sting of the cold was so unbearable.
All of a sudden, he was out of the water with a warm blanket around him and in the ice house, sitting by a warm stove. Well, it all happened so quickly, he hardly knew what had happened. Did he truly feel the full depth and height of the whole experience? He wasn't sure.
So the next day, he decided he'd jump into those icy waters again, and this time he'd really capture every feeling, every emotion, just really take it all in. His story was good, but was it good enough? Was it more extraordinary than the others'? Was it going to be deserving of all the talking, teasing, and laughing? Was it just another story, like so many others before, not really extraordinary? It had to be something nobody had heard before, it had to be a story to remember. So, the next day he decided to jump in again, and it would be the best ever. He was so excited!
It was a calm morning, and Pete waited till just about noon, so it would be close to lunch time, and all the men would be able to come inside and rave about how brave and crazy he was, and he'd give them the best laugh ever. Noon hit and so did Pete, he hit for that water, like a shot right out of a gun. No thoughts of anything, just jumping in that refreshingly frozen waters, and again that total piercing, panicking, reality.
Oh yes, it was cold, and all the men agreed that, Pete's jump was the best, and so much more than just falling in by accident. Well, what could he do? He had to jump again and again. Thus, he acquired the name of Polar Pete and his legend lives on in the hearts of all those who desire the challenge of jumping in those icy polar-like waters, and the most exhilarating experience of their life.
Polar Pete had started something, and it grew and grew through the years. Today, we call it Polar Fest and the crowds still gather at the traditional spot, and look on with admiration and amazement at the brave and crazy participants. It is a celebration like nothing else, enjoyed by all, and the comradery and teamwork are still a huge part of it all.