[image-1]The new year kicked off with a splash for over 5,000 Lowcountry residents who braved the nearly 60 (brr!) degree water of the Atlantic for the 15th annual Polar Plunge on Sullivan’s Island. The drinking started early for many at Dunleavy’s Pub, which hosted the event benefitting the Special Olympics. The narrow streets swarmed with people leading up to the 1 p.m. plunge; Dogs, children, hungover grown-ups, and the still-drunk-from-the-night-before fell into procession in the march toward the sunny beach, where the crowds milled around sharing a generally awesome mood. As the hour drew near, plungers huddled behind a long line of tape where they witnessed a surprising event: a wedding ceremony. (Now how’s that for taking the plunge?) After that, the crowd grew increasingly rowdy until the tape was cut, and everyone charged into the sparkling water like a motley crew of warriors. Some ran back to shore immediately upon getting their feet wet, others swam out for a full baptism, and many remained playing in the water for some time. Then there were the observers, like me, who stood in the surf just a bit stunned at the insanity, almost wishing we were out there splashing ourselves. Almost. See more pics here.