Mild weather in store for polar bear plunges

Staff photo/file: The 2013 - 18th annual Dunleavy’s Polar Bear Plunge will begin at 2 p.m. on Sullivan’s Island. Participants are encouraged to arrive early to find parking.

Once again, the thousands of people who will turn out for Charleston's annual Polar Bear Plunges today won't be very chilly.

If you go

Folly Beach: 11 a.m. today near the pier.

Sullivan's Island: Street party starts before 11 a.m. today. March to the beach starts at 12:30 p.m. Plunge at 1 p.m.

The forecast calls for a mild 60 degrees under cloudy skies. There's also a 50 percent chance that a shower could get bathers wet before they get in the water.

Thousands turned out last year, many wearing costumes, most yelling at the top of their lungs as they raced toward the water.

The event on Folly Beach starts at 11 a.m. near the pier. Arrive early if you're driving, because it might be a challenge finding a parking space.

An oyster roast and buffet after the Folly plunge will last all day behind The Tides near the pier. Tickets have been advertised at about $10 for children and $20 for adults.

The plunge on Sullivan's Island is at 1 p.m., although the costumed street party outside Dunleavy's on Middle Street starts before noon. The crowd starts walking toward the beach at 12:30 p.m.

Last year, the crowd at Sullivan's Island extended for hundreds of yards along the beach as participants waited for the signal to hit the water.

Both plunges are free, although Sullivan's Island participants will be asked to drop some money into buckets for the Special Olympics. Many of the swimmers raise hundreds of dollars in pledges before the event.

Sullivan's Island police will block off streets and direct traffic. Those who drive and don't get there before noon should be prepared to walk a distance after they find a parking space.

Editor's note: changes to the event times have been made in the story above. The plunge starts at 11 a.m., the walk to the water is at 12:30 p.m. and folks will hit the water at 1 p.m. Sorry for any confusion.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or

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