Revelers to start new year with a splash at local beaches

Date Published: 
December 27, 2013

A new year, new beginnings and 40-degree water temperatures will be the theme for the 10th Annual Fenwick Freeze and the 18th Annual Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos on New Year’s Day — to be held on the beach at Bayard Street in Fenwick Island and at the Bethany Beach bandstand, respectively.

For the 10th year in a row, Fenwick Island residents and visitors are being invited to break out their bathing suits and take the plunge for a good cause, supporting the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol’s National Lifeguard Competition Fund.

“The Freeze has provided me and local businesses with the opportunity to give back and to have fun for a good cause,” said director Lori Martin.

This year’s plunge will also benefit the Delaware SPCA.

“The Delaware SPCA does such good work and is entirely funded by donations, which is unreal, considering they care for so many animals,” explained Martin of the beneficiary choice. “This year, we had more runners and sponsors than ever, which enabled us to give nearly $4,000 to the SPCA.”

EDITED: Open registration for the event is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 30, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fenwick Island Town Hall. Participants can also register at One Coastal restaurant in Fenwick on Sunday, Dec. 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. Day-of registration will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. on the beach.

The formation of teams is encouraged, and early registrations are discounted. Through Dec. 30, one person pays $20, teams of two to four pay $16 per person, teams of four to six members pay $12 per person. “Day of” registration for one person costs $25, for teams with two to four members $20 each, four to six members $15 each. Pre-registered participants will receive an event T-shirt, which may not be available to those registering on the day of the event.

Participants and spectators can arrive at the beach as early as 9 a.m. to enjoy complimentary coffee from Perks Café at Pottery Place, pick up their T-shirts, warm up by the bonfire or join hipAHA for a free mini boot-camp workout session.

Just a few miles north, on the same day, Bethany residents and visitors are being encouraged to join in on a similar event and its younger companion, with the third annual Hair of the Dog 5K & 10K and the long-running Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos plunge, which has been a News Year’s Day tradition in the area for 18 years.

Ocean View’s only confirmed Eskimo, the Coastal Point’s very own Shaun Lambert, is a frequent participant in the event, which holds a taste of nostalgia for him.

“I’ve been in when the water temps have been about as cold as the water temps in the summer back at home,” said Alaska native Lambert with a laugh. “I’ve also been in when the water was a bit colder than back home, but not by a lot — at least that’s how it felt.”

Despite the Alaska-like water temperatures, the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation’s Hair of the Dog event is expecting hundreds of participants and will be giving out awards after the oceanfront finish. Packet pickup will be held at Mango’s in Bethany Beach on Tuesday, Dec. 31, from noon to 4 p.m. and on race day between 8 and 9 a.m. Registration for the 10K costs $45, while 5K registration costs $30.

Racers can kick their New Year’s hangover when the race lives up to its name by offering complimentary beer from 3rd Wave Brewery Company at the Mango’s post-race party.

The ocean plunge is scheduled to kick off at noon, with individual participants paying $30, or $15 for students younger than 18. Teams get a $5 discount per team member, at $25 per team member or $10 for students. They can also compete for the Iceberg Trophy, and the team that raises the most donations (more than $200) wins a $50 gift certificate at Ocean Side Pizzeria.

Teams can also take advantage of an added layer of clothing, since teams can wear a team shirt over their bathing suits. Otherwise, the dress code for the event is bathing attire only, though some participants have been known to put a festive spin on things. Check-in and day-of registration will be located in a heated tent at the bandstand.

Finally, discounted registration is also being offered for those who want to double-up on the New Year’s Day events, at $70 for the Bethany 10K and plunge and $55 for the 5K and plunge.