More than 1,000 take a New Year's plunge - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

More than 1,000 take a New Year's plunge

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Despite the cold and rainy weather on New Year's Day, more than 1,000 people plunged into the Atlantic Ocean for the annual Tybee Polar Plunge.

The day started with the Gang of Goofs parade and contest. Some people came dressed as their favorite characters, prancing before a panel of judges before they took the plunge; others just came dressed for the beach in their bathing suits.

When the clock struck noon, there was no turning back for the folks who jumped into the New Year feet first.

This has become a tradition that may not be unique to Tybee, but it is incredibly beneficial. Every year they raise money for the Historic Tybee Post Theater.

The organizers say they were expecting a bigger turn out but they believe the weather played a big factor this year.

"I think the rain was actually a deterrent in the beginning but then we were like, no let's go out and do it anyway," said plunge participant Erica Strickland.

"What else are you going to do, sit at home by the fire in the comfort of your own home? No," said plunge participant Bob Williamson  

For some people, this has become a tradition

It's a fabulous way to start off the year, every year," said plunge participant Susan Oates.

Oats says she's been ringing in the New Year this way for the past ten years, traveling all the way from Norcross, Ga. just so she can start off the New Year on the right foot, freezing foot.

"The first year we did it, we had a rough year and this is way to wash off all the stink of an old year," said Oats.

The organizers say this is one of the reasons why people love the plunge and keep coming back.

Oats says it's become a tradition for her because she believes plunging into the ocean helps her attitude and outlook for a new year, warding off any negativity.

"You think it's going to be cold and then you get in and you think, and it's so refreshing and it's so exhilarating and what a great way to start a new year," said Oates.

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