MARGATE – The place to be to welcome the New Year at the shore is at Robert’s Place where revelers will take a quick dip in the ocean at noon.
It is the 25th anniversary Downbeach Polar Bear Plunge for the Margate bar, which welcomes families and friends, including some West Coasters, to celebrate the New Year in Jersey Shore fashion.
“It’s always a fun time,” bar owner Christine Brewster said.
After cancelling the event last year because of the frigid weather, Brewster said she is “hoping for a good turnout this year.”
The year before, there were thousands of people on the beach, and about half of them took the plunge. Others stood by the ready with warm robes and dry clothes.
Participants will “pre-game” at the bar before the event, Brewster said. Those who can’t get in will mill about on the street before proceeding to the beach at Essex Avenue for the plunge at noon. Afterwards, many return to the bar for food and refreshments.
“The city does a great job keeping everyone safe by patrolling the area and sending their rescue vehicles just in case,” she said.
As far as she can recall, there have never been any emergencies, just a lot of fun.
The weather forecast calls for it to be warm and possibly wet on New Year’s Day with temperatures in the mid-50s. As of Friday, the water temperature was 44 degrees, so except for the possibility of a few raindrops, it should be pretty bearable for the dip.
The event is actually a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. Proceeds of the sale of long-sleeved T-shirts ($20) and hoodies ($30) will be donated to the organization, Brewster said.
“It’s always a good time and an annual tradition for many of our customers,” Brewster said. “They make this the end-game of their night of reveling on New Year’s Eve. Hopefully, this will be another great celebration.”