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Islanders ring in 2013

By Staff | Jan 4, 2013

SHANNEN HAYES Patti Melatti enjoys the Sanibel Rec Center’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Island residents rang in the New Year in both traditional and odd ways.

More traditionally, hundreds of islanders of all ages attended the community’s Poppin’, Hoppin’ & Bubblin’ into 2013 New Year’s Eve party while the local chapter of the National Polar Bear Club wrapped up celebrations with its Polar Plunge into the Gulf of Mexico New Year’s Day.

“We had over 300 people which is more than last year,” Fay Carney said for Sanibel-Captiva Chapter PaPa Bear John Carney. “Some people come every year and you can identify them by what they wear – silly hats and things.”

Those 300 souls plunged into the 60-degree water of the Gulf off Tarpon Bay Beach at the “crack of noon.” According to Carney, most spent three or four minutes in the surf.

The dip on the ocean is becoming a tradition on Sanibel since this is the 13th year the local Polar Bears have celebrated the New Year here.

“After everyone got out there was the champagne toast,” she said.

Though the final figures are not yet available, more than 400 people attended the 4th annual New Year’s Eve event at the Sanibel Recreation Center, starting at 8 p.m. and concluding within 30 minutes of the midnight “balloon drop.”

Festivities included performances by a magician, juggler and ventriloquist while attendees enjoyed food, beverages, games, dancing, music DJ, adult Bingo, a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and, of course, each other’s company.

Michael Miller of the Sanibel Bike Club won the 50/50 raffle prize of more than $1,900, making his New Year instantly prosperous.

You can check out both events in the Island Faces pages of this newspaper.