01/02/2014 01:50 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

These Brave Chicagoans Started 2014 With A Polar Plunge (VIDEO)

Some 30 Chicagoans got their 2014 off to a frigid start when they took an icy plunge in Lake Michigan on Wednesday.

Those partaking in the plunge had to break thick ice on the lake in order to continue what is an annual tradition for some, WGN reports.

"Why not!" one plunger responded when asked by a WGN reporter why they were hopping in the lake (embedded above).

According to CBS Chicago, the group gathered at North Avenue Beach was largely doing so in order to raise funds for American Greyhouse Rescue. The group told the station they raised more than $12,000 in pledges this year.

Also taking to the lake on New Year's Day was the Lincoln Park chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers, joined by Star Wars fans decked out in full-on storm trooper gear. The group was raising money for the "Trees For You and Me" program, according to the RedEye.

Meanwhile, in north suburban Waukegan, the city's 15th annual polar beach plunge was held and couple dozen plungers helped raise funds for a scholarship program that provides aid to individuals with disabilities, according to ABC Chicago.