New Year’s Day proved to be the perfect time for a plunge.
With 73-degree weather and clear skies, more than 100 people rushed Jan. 1 into the Gulf of Mexico for Clancy’s 11th annual Shamrock Shiver New Year’s Day Charity Plunge at Seventh Street South and Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach.
The event began with a costume contest judged by the crowd.
Participants included Ron Stout, decked out as “Mr. Red Tide,” and a friend, Paul Devine, who wore a sea turtle blowup raft; Heather Horn, who was made up as a shamrock; and Bill Capobianco, who came as a unicorn that ate a monkey.
Outfitted as an Amish couple, Mark Gritz and Robert Nott walked away with the contest’s top prize.
At the beach, volunteers collected donations and sold event T-shirts and sand brushes.
After the plunge at noon, people returned to Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub, 6218 Cortez Road W., Bradenton, for an after-party with raffles, live music, food, beverages and awards.
Proceeds benefit Caring for Children Charities, the fundraising arm of the Sarasota-based nonprofit organization, Florida Winefest and Auction.
Since its inception in 1991, Florida Winefest has donated more than $8.5 million to children’s charities.
Clancy’s has helped raise $219,520 with its annual plunge since beginning in 2009.
The 2019 plunge raised at least $27,000, with pledges and checks still rolling in as of Jan. 3, according to Jan Crudele of Florida Winefest.
To pledge or make a donation, contact Crudele at 941-952-1109.