Every year on Pensacola Beach, January 1st brings the Polar Bear Plunge at Paradise Bar and Grill. A few hundred people come together to watch several take the plunge to the end of the pier and back. Since this is Florida, the temperature can range from freezing to in the 80s. Unfortunately for those who took the plunge this year, the temperature was around 37 degrees which truly made it a polar plunge.
My favorite part about this event every year is seeing the groups that dress up together. This year there were pandas, unicorns, pirates and I'm sure several others that I missed. Registration always begins at noon and the plunge is scheduled for 2PM so there is plenty of time to get photos with your favorites before they get soaked.
I'm sure that everyone in the water was extremely happy that it is somewhat shallow behind Paradise. Although, I did see a brave few dive all the way under. Even though most of us did not get in the water this year, I'm pretty sure that most of us were frozen by the end of it. The wind and the current were both strong, and there were more than a few that cut their polar plunge short.
Once the polar plunge is over, the real party begins. Bands are set to play for the rest of the afternoon, and the party goes until 5 or later. Once the plunge finished, I quickly ran back inside with everyone else to warm up next to a heat lamp. Once inside, everyone warms up quickly. A drink at the bar or a cup of hot chocolate will help speed up that process.
If you are looking for something to do on New Years Day next year, I highly recommend checking out the Polar Bear Plunge. It is a great way to begin the new year with friends and family. Until the temperature reaches 80 degrees or higher, I will continue to watch from the sidelines. I hope to see everyone there next year!