For 25 years, thousands of visitors have flocked to Sea Isle City over Presidents Day Weekend to experience a chilly thrill: The Polar Bear Plunge.
As 2019 marks the 25th annual event, Feb. 15-17, the event organizers have added some extra special touches to this year’s event to celebrate the milestone, according to a release.
The weekend full of events, live entertainment and more, kicks off on Feb. 15 with the crowning of the Royal Polar Bear Family and concludes on Feb. 17 with the 11th annual Mike’s Seafood Run/Walk for Autism and the third annual Polar Bear Cornhole Tournament.
“Polar Bear Plunge Weekend has grown in the last 25 years to become like a summer weekend and we are so thankful to the thousands of people who come to Sea Isle City in February to support the event,” said James Bennett, the event organizer and owner of La Costa. “To honor our 25th Anniversary, we have a special Grand Prize for the top small group in the costume contest, and we will be presenting the first ever Dr. Irene Jameson Award to Janet Halasek, who has participated in every Polar Bear Plunge since the beginning. We are really looking forward to seeing the familiar faces as well as some new ones in this year’s crowd! It’s going to be a great time.”
The festivities begin on Friday night with the crowning of the 2019 Polar Bear Prince and Princess at 7:30 p.m. followed by the crowning of the 2019 Polar Bear King and Queen at 9 p.m.
The contests will take place at the La Costa Deck Bar, JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue. Spectators will also be able to register for Saturday’s Plunge from 12-9 p.m. at La Costa.
The members of the 2019 Polar Bear Royal Family will each receive a crown and sash.
There is no cost to participate in the Prince and Princess contest, which is open to boys and girls ages 12-16, and each winner will receive a $250 cash prize.
To enter the Prince and Princess contest, go to www.lacosta-seaisle.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Men and women age 21 and over can enter the King and Queen Contest online at www.lacosta-seaisle.com. Funds raised from the Polar Bear King and Queen Contest will benefit various autism charities.
On Saturday, registered plungers will have a chance to showcase their creativity during the Polar Bear Costume Contest at noon at the La Costa Main Tent.
Contestants can download the application online at www.lacosta-seaisle.com or register the day of the event at 10am under the main tent.
Contestants are reminded to keep all costumes tasteful; the event organizers reserve the right to deny entry to the contest. Winners will be announced at 4pm following the plunge.
Day-of plunge registrations and preregistration pick-up will take place on Saturday from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the tent outside of La Costa. The cost of the plunge is $25. Plungers must be 12 years of age and older.
All registered plungers will receive a wristband and a commemorative T-shirt (while supplies last). Live entertainment will be provided all weekend at La Costa, featuring The Insiders Band, Split Decision, The Rockets and more.
At 1:45 p.m., clap your hands, stomp your feet and follow the whimsical sounds of the Fralinger String Band as it leads plungers down to the beach. The official time of the Polar Bear Plunge is 2 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. and the official plunge location, with medical assistance and ocean-rescue personnel on site is between 38th and 40th streets.
Get a good night’s sleep and join in the fun on Sunday, Feb. 17 while supporting an incredible cause. The 11th Annual Mike’s Seafood Polar Bear Run/Walk for Autism kicks off at 12 noon from JFK Blvd. and the Promenade. Registration and reregistration pick-up will take place on Sunday from 9-11:30 a.m. under the main tent at La Costa.
After completing the race, celebrate back at La Costa during the Post-Race Party with food, fun and entertainment for the whole family. There will be live music, a buffet, the awards ceremony, and a variety of activities for the kids. Proceeds from the Run/Walk benefit Special Services Schools, Autism Support Groups, and families of special-needs children in Cape May and Atlantic counties.
Keep the party going after the Run/Walk for Autism at the third annual Polar Bear Cornhole Tournament. The cost is $60 per team. Check-in will begin at 2 p.m. and bags fly at 3 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament. Players will compete for a chance to win cash prizes; first place will receive $400, second place will receive $200 and third place will receive $100.
There will be a hot buffet, courtesy of Mike’s Seafood and Dock Restaurant, and drink specials for all registered players. Teams may register online at www.lacosta-seaisle.com or www.polarbearrunwalkforautism.com.
Proceeds will be presented to the Polar Bear Run/Walk for Autism.
Jitney service will be available during Polar Bear Plunge Weekend, including Friday from 6 p.m. – 4 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. All metered parking will be free.
To register for the Polar Bear Plunge, go to www.lacosta-seaisle.com. To register for the Mike’s Seafood Run/Walk for Autism or the 3rd Annual Cornhole Tournament, go to www.polarbearrunwalkforautism.com.