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United Beach Vacations Blog

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Brrrravado highlights Carolina Beach Polar Plunge

The first time Rudy Branson attempted a Polar Plunge he stripped to his bathing suit, ran full speed to the water … and … stopped dead in his tracks. Goosebumps appearing like kudzu on his body, he shivered in the cold air and walked back to the beach to dress.

That was four years ago during the first annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge in Carolina Beach, and Rudy laughs at the memory. On Saturday, Feb. 16, he plunged into the chilly Atlantic for the third year in a row. The water temperature was 56 degrees and the air was not much better.

“I love this event,” said Rudy, a 74-year-old former electrician who has lived in Carolina Beach for 30 years. “It’s fun, raises money for a good cause, and fosters a sense of community.”

Rudy was the oldest of 54 brave souls to plunge into the ocean at the Carolina Beach boardwalk. Caitlin Roth, age 8, was the youngest. “It was really cold at first,” said Caitlin, sipping from a steaming Styrofoam cup of hot chocolate. “But then I kinda got used to it.”

In order to participate in the Polar Plunge, participants must raise a minimum of $50 and can enter as an individual or as a team (teams must have at least 5 plungers, and each plunger must raise a minimum of $50).

One team – amusingly called Fargo -- was the first to plunge and eagerly splashed in the three- to four-foot waves. Each was dressed in red Speedos and made an absurd contrast to the surfers nearby, who were decked out head to toe in black wetsuits and mostly bobbed in the surf, sitting on their boards and shaking their heads at the brave plungers.

This year’s Polar Plunge was dedicated to Karl Davis, WECT-TV general manager, who died in a motorcycle accident on Jan. 12.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Carolina Beach/Kure Beach events

As we bask in the glow of more unseasonably warm temperatures here in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach (it's 65 degrees right now, down from 74 yesterday!), it's not too early to tell you about some great upcoming events in and around the area.

March 15 -- 4th Annual Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lo Tide Run (5K) in Carolina Beach. Proceeds go to cancer victims in financial need. Visit for more information.
April 19 -- Chowder Cook-off. Each year chefs from Pleasure Island, Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington gather on Pleasure Island for the famous Chowder Cook-off. Bring the family and a large appetite. Daylong event features live music, fun for the kids and of course, great food. Call 910-458-8434.
April 26 -- Kure Beach Street Festival. Arts & Crafts, food and fun. Call 910-458-8216.

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