Fenwick Islanders ready to Freeze for fun

Who says there is nothing to do in the winter at the beach? There’s always a quick dip in the ocean!

The sixth annual Fenwick Freeze will be held at 10:30 a.m. on the beach on Jan. 1 at Bayard Street in Fenwick Island. People who have not yet registered to participate in the New Year’s Day ocean splash can register the day of the event, on the beach, from 9 to 10 a.m.

Becka McWilliams of the Fenwick Island Beach Committee said the Fenwick Freeze and the Lifeguard Ball are just two ways local residents and visitors can help out the town’s lifeguards as they compete in local, regional and national lifeguard competitions each year, bringing back a multitude of awards.

“We help to sponsor the guards who go to the national competition in the summer,” McWilliams explained. Each year, the national competition is held in a different state, so the lifeguards might be traveling to Florida, or to California, as in years past.

The town usually gets quite a crowd for the annual event – one of the newer New Year’s Day ocean swims in the area – although not all of them are brave enough to venture into the water. The events have become a popular spectator sport for New Year’s Day, as well as a popular challenge for those who decide the weather’s fair enough for a dip.

“We usually get around 150 that actually do it,” said McWilliams, “and anywhere from 200 to 225 onlookers.”

Each participant gets a commemorative T-shirt and, this year, the Beach Committee also has eco-friendly reusable bags available. Registration costs $25 for one person; $20 each for a group of two to four, and $15 each for a group of five to eight. Checks can be made out to the Fenwick Island Beach Committee.

“We are trying to raise a lot of money,” emphasized McWilliams. “These guys work really hard all summer, and we like to help them as much as we can. We hope to get a big turnout.”

The event offers a fun challenge, as well as support for cause, but it’s quick, so there is plenty of time to run down to Bethany Beach to join the noontime Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos, as well.

“You go, you jump in, and two seconds later, everybody leaves,” joked McWilliams in expectation of this week’s bone-chilling weather and wind. “It’s stinking cold.”