Taking a freezing cold dip on New Year’s Day has become a tradition in Navarre over the past several years. And when in Navarre, you do as the Navarrians, right?
After a celebratory evening of ringing in the New Year the night before, hundreds of Navarre locals and tourists typically spend the next afternoon submerging themselves in the sub 60-degree water for a great cause.
The organizers call it “Freezing for a Reason” because all proceeds go to a charity.
Typically, there are two plunges on New Year’s Day – The Penguin Plunge in the Santa Rosa Sound at Juana’s Pagodas and the Pirate Plunge in the Gulf of Mexico on Navarre Beach with an after party at Windjammers on the Pier.
This time around, however, there will only be one plunge Jan. 1 – the Penguin Plunge ‘n Paddle. This will be the 12th annual Penguin Plunge and the proceeds will benefit Healing Paws for Warriors this year.
Healing Paws for Warriors is a non-profit dedicated to providing Post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and Military Sexual Trauma rescue-to-trained ADA-certified service dogs at no cost. Their goal is to bring awareness to veteran suicide, reducing the numbers one service dog at a time.
The event will start with a paddle board adventure course at 12:30 p.m. and the plunge will take place at 1:30 p.m., followed by a party with food, drink, live music and a raffle.
Music will be provided by none other than Baby New Year, Stevie Hall, who dresses in a diaper wearing a sash and does the plunge himself, Rudzki said. Then, Hall will dry off to sing and play some songs to ring in the new year.
On average 400-500 people normally come out to the New Year’s Day plunge.
Both “penguins,” people taking the plunge, and “chickens,” people just here for the party, can register online at www.juanaspagodas.com/penguinplunge.htm. The plunge registration is $25 and the paddle registration is $35, but the price will increase $5 for same day registration. Long sleeve t-shirts are included while supplies last. Registration also includes draft beer, hot drinks, food, live music and raffles.
The Pirate Plunge, on the other hand, has been postponed to the first day of spring, March 20.
Organizer and president of Pirates on the Panhandle, Mark Miller rescheduled the event due to the increasing number of COVID cases in our area.
The Gulf of Mexico water will still be chilly in March and more people will probably come out to support their charity – Pregnancy Resource Center of Navarre.
Now, the plunges won’t be back-to-back and people can enjoy both the Penguin Plunge n’ Paddle on Jan. 1 and the Pirate Plunge on March 20.
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