Several thousand people will show up at Rehoboth Beach Sunday unseasonably clad and ready to rush into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean for the 21st Annual Lewes Polar Bear Plunge. The event is one of Delaware's most popular fundraisers, which raises money for Special Olympics Delaware's year-round programs.
The Plunge began in 1992 with just 78 "polar bears" daring to dip into the frigid ocean waters and raising $7,000 in the process. Last year, more than 3,500 people participated, helping to raise more than $650,000.
People don't start dipping their toes into the water until Sunday afternoon but the festivities will actually begin Friday with the weekend-long Plunge Festival that includes several Saturday activities: The Pooch Plunge (11 a.m. to noon); The Ice Cream Throwdown (noon to 5 p.m.); The Run to the Plunge 5K (1 p.m.); Restaurant Chili Contest (3 to 6 p.m.); And, an ice sculpting contest (judging takes place at 1:30 p.m.).
Pre-registration has closed but last-minute registration will be open at 10 a.m. at the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk. Just look for the special line for "day-of bears" at the registration tent.
Weather reports predict that temperatures will be in the mid-40s and that clouds should give way to the sun's warming rays but first-time plungers should be prepared for an undeniable level of cold.
DO Pack a robe. It will keep you warm as you wait and can be easily slipped back on when you get out of the water. Keep your feet covered until the last possible minute and consider wearing water shoes.
DON'T dive into the water or try to plunge headfirst. Bring extra towels and blankets. Wear layers of loose fitting clothes. Do not bring tents; They are not allowed on the beach. Leave your pet at home. Animals are strongly discouraged during the plunge.
Author looks back, discusses history
WHAT Book signing and discussion
WHERE First State Community Action Agency, 308 N. Railroad Ave., Georgetown
WHEN 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5
INFO (302) 856-7761
Just in time for Black History Month, Jefferson Morely, a former Washington Post editor, will be in Georgetown discussing his latest book, "Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835" at the First State Community Action Agency.
Published in July of last year, the book offers a gripping narrative history of the explosive events that drew together Francis Scott Key, Andrew Jackson, and an 18-year-old slave on trial for attempted murder. The book weaves the saga of Beverly Snow, a mixed race restaurateur, run out of Washington by a white mob with the never-told story of the patriots, black and white, who brought the anti-slavery struggle to America's capital in the 1830s.
First State Community Action Agency Executive Director Bernice Edwards is excited about the presentation.
"As we near the period highlighting and celebrating civil rights and cultural heritage and as we take into account the rapidly changing demographics of our local cities and towns, we can discuss ways in which we can promote and strengthen race relations and diversity in our communities," Edwards said.
All members of the community are welcome and there is no cost to attend. The event will begin at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5, and will take place at the agency's conference and training center located at 308 N. Railroad Ave in Georgetown. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call (302) 856-7761
Cupcakes, coffee and art
WHERE The Upper Crust, 7 E. Market St., Georgetown
WHEN 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Coffee lovers in need of a little change of scenery can still catch the artwork of Rita M. Poore at The Upper Crust in Georgetown. The pieces were hung Jan. 14 and will remain up through Saturday, Feb. 9.
Poore, a self-taught acrylic painter, also takes formal watercolor classes with local artist Elizabeth Collard. In an attempt to stretch herself even further, she has also delved into collage, infusing her work with a combination of her passion and experiences. Poore has said that she hopes that viewers can see the wide range of her life experiences in her work.
Co-owners Charles Meade and Bruce Mead have both said that they are determined to offer artists a place to show their work.
"Part of The Upper Crust's commitment to the community is to offer a gallery space for local artists who might not otherwise have an opportunity to show their works," Charles Meade said.
Interested artists should contact Bruce Mead by calling (302) 856-2300 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Mead will then schedule a time to review the artwork and to possibly schedule an exhibit date.
Visitors are encouraged to pop in for made-from-scratch baked goods, fair trade organic coffee, breakfast, lunch or made-to-order cupcakes.