ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — Hundreds of participants splashed into the Atlantic Ocean at Atlantic Beach for a good cause on Saturday.
The event was the 19th annual Penguin Plunge at Atlantic Beach Boardwalk. Last year’s event was virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions. Saturday was the first time everyone was together again on the beach for the event since before the pandemic started.
Each year, the Penguin Plunge organizers choose an organization to donate money. This year’s event raised money for the Teacher Fellowship Program in Carteret County.
“We love money that’s going to stay right here in the county and for the teacher fellowship program,” said Miriam Sutton, co-founder of Penguin Plunge. “They’re basically going to take our graduates from the Carteret County school system and get the first couple of years of community college paid for and the last two years at a state-owned university,”
As Saturday began to warm up, more people began to make their way out to the beach, getting ready to plunge. The water’s temperature was 60 degrees, the warmest officials said it has ever been for the Penguin Plunge, allowing it to be more bearable and refreshing for plungers.
“It’s the first day of the year,” aid Diane Paterson, an Atlantic Beach local. “It’s the best way I can think to go ahead and try to start your new year out. It just makes it a whole lot of fun you know to see everybody who’s been cupped up for the last few years.”
At 1 p.m., the plungers made their way into the water. Some quickly made their way out while others took their time to enjoy it.
“The penguin plunge has been on my bucket list to do, and it’s 2022 … we’ve had a rough couple of years so it’s a way of starting off fresh and new,” said Beaufort Mayor Sharon Harker. “And plus we’re supporting the Carteret County School Foundation today. So all the proceeds will go to support that organization which I’m truly invested in.”
All who took the plunge say the event is just so fun to be a part of while benefitting important charities.