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10th Annual Polar Bear Plunge hopes to shatter participant record

By Staff | Dec 16, 2009

In January, a record turnout of 232 “brave” swimmers took to the Gulf waters at the Ninth Annual Polar Bear Plunge. In a few short weeks, organizers are hoping to shatter that mark with even more people taking part.

On Thursday, Jan. 1, 2010 the Sanibel-Captiva Chapter of the National Polar Bear Club will hold its 10th anniversary meeting at “the crack of noon” at Tarpon Bay Beach (the south/Gulf end of Tarpon Bay Road). Parking for 89 cars is available at the city lot. Don’t forget to display your current new sticker or pay the parking fee.

The meeting will begin with the singing of the traditional Polar Bear anthem by the “Cubbies” (first-timers), “Juveniles” (one-time previous dippers) and seasoned “Adult” bears (those who took the plunge in previous years).

Following the anthem the Polar Bears will enter the icy Gulf waters backwards, facing the huge crowd of supporters, on-lookers, tourists and “mice” (those who wished they had the courage to join in).

Following various bear-frolicking activities in the water and the traditional Polar Bear Group Huddle/Hug (a body-warming activity), all participants will receive a free membership card and a certificate suitable for framing. There will also be an opportunity to sip from the giant Polar Bear champagne glass, have your picture taken in the infamous shell pith helmet and to engage in story-telling about your heroic experience with fellow Polar Bears from around the world. Massive media coverage is again expected to be on hand to historically document this annual event.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this traditional island event. Remember to wear your bathing suit and bring a towel. Chairs and coolers are optional. Come join your friends, family, neighbors, tourists, politicians and other island characters for one “beary” memorable activity. It’s the only event going on at the crack-of-noon on New Year’s Day and – best of all – it’s free and fun!

Sign in and song sheets will be handed out starting at 11 a.m.

For more information about this “chilling” event, you may contact “Papa Bear” (aka John Carney) at 395-1767.