Plunging into 2019

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Record numbers turn out for annual Pelican Plunge

The Hunting Island State Park pelican mascot leads the parade of costumes prior to the annual Pelican Plunge on Tuesday at the park.

Nearly 1,000 people took advantage of warmer-than-average weather Tuesday, Jan. 1, for the 10th annual Pelican Plunge at Hunting Island State Park. The temperature in Northern Beaufort County reached an unseasonable 79 degrees. Water temperature in the surf at the popular state park was a tepid 58 degrees, drawing the biggest crowd in recent memory.

“Many of those were spectators”, according to Crystal Mason, treasurer for the non-profit Friend of Hunting Island, which is kicking off its 26th year. 

Mason said the group sold 479 tickets, though some of the prospective participants turned away and went back home because of a lack of parking. 

The event raised about $3,500, which will be given back to Hunting Island through beach programs and helping with maintenance costs.

Photo at top: An estimated 1,000 people ó participants and spectators ó showed up for the annual Pelican Plunge on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Here, participants of all ages make their way into the surf. Water temperature was a mild 58 degrees. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

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