The biggest event of the winter once again takes place this Sunday, Feb. 4, in the "Nation's Summer Capital" of Rehoboth Beach. We're speaking, of course, about the 2018 edition of the city's popular Polar Bear Plunge.
But this year feels a little extra special, with the addition of the Philadelphia Eagles playing later that day against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII (that's 52 for those of us who have trouble remembering our Roman Numerals class from high school).
This really is one of the highlights of the winter months in the coastal region, but there are a few things about the Polar Bear Plunge you may not know. These include:
- The event is actually called the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge, as that's where the event originated in 1991. In 1998, the February event was moved to the city of Rehoboth Beach.
- The February plunge is one of a series of icy dips undertaken each year by the "Lewes Polar Bears Club."
- All proceeds for the February plunge go to support the work of Special Olympics Delaware, and it has become the organization's largest annual fundraiser.
- The event now covers the entire weekend and is a financial boon to the Delaware beaches during the offseason.
So, let's give you a preview of the 2018 event right now. If you're up for a mid-winter dip in the frigid waters of the Atlantic, or maybe just want to view what has become quite the party over the years, here's what you can expect this weekend:
Polar Bear Plunge. Plunge time is Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp, but check in begins three hours prior at the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk. Visit www.plungede.org for a checklist of things to bring, as well as more information on the weekend’s main event.
5K Run to the Plunge. The run starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday. In the event of bad weather, it will be moved to 8 a.m. on Sunday.
Fire & Ice Festivities. These family fun activities will take place at the Rehoboth Beach Fire Hall on Saturday, beginning at 12 p.m. Events include children’s games, hot wing selections and the “Polar Ice Cream Throwdown.”
Chili Tasting Contest. Scheduled from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at 13 participating restaurants in Rehoboth. Prizes given in categories including “Best Hot Chili,” “Most Unique Chili” and “Judge's Choice.” You can purchase a $5 ballot at any of the participating restaurants and vote for your favorite. Click HERE for a complete list of the participating restaurants.
Ice Sculpting Demonstration. Always a fan favorite, these unique creations will come to life on Rehoboth Avenue beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Six sculptors will be participating this year.
Sand Sculpting. This is scheduled for Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the beach just south of Rehoboth Avenue.
This year marks the 26th installment of this popular local festival, which is always a great time, whether you're participating or just watching all of the fun.
If you're in the area and feel like enjoying a coastal Delaware event unlike any other, head on down to the Boardwalk this weekend for some cold weather fun in the hours before the Super Bowl.
It may be cold, but it's loads of fun and it's to benefit a great Delaware organization that improves the lives of so many throughout our state.
Have a great weekend everyone!