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Revelers Welcome New Year in O.C. With Chilly Dip

first_imgKevin Barnes, of Ocean City, and his daughter, Kendall, 9, take a refreshing splash in the water at Ocean City’s First Dip. By Maddy VitaleKevin and Nadine Barnes, of Ocean City, prepared for this day.“We packed a bag with blankets, one for before and one for after,” Nadine said. “We even spoke to a doctor about the cold water.”That was back in November.On New Year’s Day, both Kevin Barnes and his daughter, Kendall, 9, a third grade student at Ocean City Primary School, were ready to welcome 2019, along with hundreds of other brave souls, who marched into the chilly surf in celebration of Ocean City’s First Dip.Kendall came home from school one day and told her parents it was something she wanted to try.She certainly has the swimming ability, her parents assured. That isn’t what made her a bit anxious, though. She was worried about the chilly water.“I’m really excited and a little scared,” Kendall admitted as she put her hands in her pockets and jumped up and down to keep warm while still on the Boardwalk with about 40 minutes before ocean time.The plunge was nothing like New Year’s Day 2018, when the city canceled the dip due to dangerously frigid temperatures.Temperatures hovered around 59 degrees Tuesday near the 2 p.m. start time for the First Dip.But the water temperature was another story – about 46 degrees.Some of the other participants got into the festive mood. Some wore Eagles gear, others wore Santa Claus hats, pajamas and robes.Ocean City residents and friends, Carl Wanek and Joe Schneider, wore their Eagles gear, along with bathing suits in place of pants, of course.Carl Wanek is happy with his annual ritual.“It’s fun. It is a ritual we have been doing since 2010,” Wanek said of the annual dip in the ocean.Other revelers dressed as Super Heroes and did not shed their “powers” before jumping in.Joseph Ricciardi, of Flemington, N.J., was decked out in his Batman attire. His sister, Ava Ricciardi, was Harley Quinn, Batman’s rival, while Ralph Tiz, of Tuckahoe, wore his Robin costume.From left, dressed as Super Heroes, Ralph Tiz, of Tuckahoe, Ava Ricciardi, of Flemington N.J., and her brother, Joseph, enjoy the annual plunge.They struck a pose while still ankle deep in the chilly water moments after the zany event brought crowds to frolic at the water’s edge and take pictures to capture the moment.Ocean City High School seniors and close friends, Brynn Bowman, 17, and Danielle Donoghue, 17, both of Ocean City, have participated in the plunge for as long as they can remember.“It’s been at least 10 years,” Bowman said as the two shared a laugh.Danielle Donoghue, 17, of Ocean City, and Brynn Bowman, 17, of Ocean City, make the dip a tradition.Bowman and Donoghue wore onesies. But when it came time to muster up the courage to shed the clothing and run into the water in just their bathing suits, the duo didn’t hesitate.At the countdown, led by Michael Hartman, Ocean City’s director of special events, the participants appeared as if they were getting ready for a race. Some shouted before they raced into the ocean.Revelers take off to the ocean for an icy dip.Mayor Jay Gillian watched with amusement at the call for the First Dip.He commented about what a success the First Night New Year’s Eve celebration was the night before.“We are just lucky and blessed. Whether it is rain or shine, our guests still come to have a great time,” Gillian said. “People just want to have clean fun.”An hour before the First Dip plunge got underway, hundreds of runners lined up for the annual First Day 5K race along the Boardwalk. Two Ocean City natives and Ocean City High School graduates came in first and second place.Ocean City natives Andrew DeMaria, 26, and Evan Schmeizer, 20, are first and second, respectively, in the 5K First Day run.First place went to Andrew DeMaria, 26, with a time of 17 minutes and 19 seconds.“I’m pretty happy,” he said.His friend, Evan Schmeizer, 20, was not far away.“He was right behind me,” said DeMaria, who now lives in Clemson, South Carolina, and is currently getting an advanced degree.Schmeizer, 20, goes to school in upstate New York and runs track. He was satisfied finishing so close to his friend.“I am just so happy about my time,” Schmeizer said. “I run all three seasons at school. I mostly run the mile and the 800. This race is a little long for me.”His brother, Jesse Schmeizer, came in first last year, but is away at school and could not make the race this year.For full results visit: www.runsignup.com/Race/NJ/OceanCity/FirstDay5KBoardwalkRunRunners breeze by at the start of the 5K race.From left, Little Miss Ocean City Stevie Wright hams it up with Miss Ocean City Megan Keenan and Junior Miss Ocean City Julia Wilson.The “plungers” run to the water’s edge.last_img read more

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