Festivals + Events, City Picks

Polar Bear Plunge

When: Tue., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. 2013

Missing the beach this winter? Apparently you’re not alone. This New Year’s Day, thousands will venture to Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach for the annual dive into the Atlantic Ocean. On Sully’s, the infamous Dunleavy’s Pub Polar Plunge is a tradition that has been benefitting the Special Olympics South Carolina for the past 12 years. Dressing up in costume has become a big part of the experience, too. “I’ve seen everything you can imagine,” says Special Olympics marketing director Paula Byers. “Men in prom dresses, chicken suits. There was a particularly memorable group last year that built their own Jamaican bobsled.” The event raised $60,000 last year, and Byers anticipates another successful plunge in 2013. The money goes directly to the Special Olympics Winter Games, held at the Citadel in March. But there’s more to it than just the fundraising. “Though the money is really nice, equally or more important is the recognition,” says Byers. “It’s great that so many people learn what the S.C. Special Olympics is really about.” If you’re closer to the West Ashley-James Island side of town — or if you’re a real badass and want to do it twice — head to Folly to plunge. Your costume will be welcome at this one, too.

Brooks Brunson

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