Special to the Parade
That’s right. South Padre Island revelers will welcome 2012 on Sunday, Jan. 1 with the nation’s warmest Polar Bear Dip into balmy Gulf waters.
In the north, Polar Bear Dips usually involve dashing through the snow and plunging into icy waters on New Year’s Day. Subtropical South Padre Island has its own tradition: revelers dashing across white, fine-sand beaches before splashing into the waters of South Padre Island.
And like past years, with a forecast for temperatures in the low-70s, and water temperatures of about 65 degrees, the 14th annual South Padre Island Polar Bear Dip and Beach Party offers an ice-free alternative to the New Year’s Day tradition.
Originally started by four friends on a whim, the South Padre Island Polar Bear Club now has 1,200 members from all over the United States and beyond.
Admission to the event is free. Proceeds raised from T-shirt sales benefit local charities. With a theme of “Pink in the New Year,” this year’s Polar Bear Dip T-shirt sales will benefit the South Padre Island Walk for Women, a breast cancer awareness and fundraising group. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes for the event and to bring a picnic lunch for after the dip.
The event is slated Sunday, Jan. 1 as registration begins at 10 a.m. The first 50 registrants will receive refreshments, including a cup of black-eyed peas, a New Year’s Day tradition. The dip will then begin promptly at 12 p.m. at South Padre Island on the beach behind Boomerang Billy’s Beach Bar/Surf Motel, 2612 Gulf Blvd.