SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 2, 2013

Plunging into 2013

SALEM — Ryan Phelan, 18, of Lynn, described what it was like to plunge into the ocean on a cold, January morning.

“It feels like poison darts coming at you,” he said.

But that didn’t stop him or dozens of others from running, screaming, into the frosty water at the Winter Island boat ramp yesterday, continuing what has become a New Year’s tradition that also benefits area residents in need.

To the sounds of a cowbell and cheers, locals tossed off their towels and bathrobes and stormed into the icy water for the fourth annual “Freeze Your Tush Off” for charity ocean dip. The event is a fundraiser for the Salem Pantry, which provides free groceries to those in need each month at the First Universalist Church. Since its inception, the polar plunge has raised more than $10,000 for the food bank.

SEE THE VIDEO

Among the first to go in was event organizer Becky Christie, who has taken a New Year’s Day dip every year since 2000 in honor of her friend Elizabeth Bookholz, who died in 1999.

“For me, it’s in her memory,” said Christie.

The event is informal — there’s no registration — but attracts people of all ages from Salem and the surrounding area. Some strip down to their bathing suits to take the plunge and come running back, usually to a waiting friend or family member with a warm, dry towel. Lots just come to watch. Many came straight from the finish line of the Wicked Frosty Four Road Race.

This was the first year the event was held on Winter Island, which also allowed participants to warm up with cups of hot chocolate afterward in the nearby function hall. The previous charity dips took place at Juniper Cove at Salem Willows, where Christie took her first “polar plunge” while enjoying an outdoor lunch on a balmy 70-degree New Year’s Day there with Bookholz.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
Comments Tracker