It's Polar Bear Plunge Weekend in Rehoboth Beach!

It's going to be cold this first weekend in February and you know what that means - it's a great time to hit the beach and go for a dip in the mighty waters of the Atlantic Ocean!

That's right, it's Polar Bear Plunge Weekend 2022 in Rehoboth Beach! It's that time of year when otherwise sane and rational people strip down to their swimsuits and run en masse into the near freezing waters just off the Rehoboth Boardwalk!

Sounds a bit crazy, right? Well, that depends on your point of view and how much you want to be a part of the winter's biggest event in Rehoboth Beach.

As always, the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge (so named because of the event's origins in nearby Lewes) is the largest annual fundraiser for Special Olympics Delaware.

Since 1991, the February plunge has benefitted the year-round programs of the First State organization, raising more than $13 million in the process. The event has become so popular that it's sparked an entire weekend full of events and created a huge financial boon to coastal Delaware during the offseason.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, indoor gatherings such as the Fire and Ice festivities and the Apres Plunge Party have been cancelled for 2022.

But there are plenty of other fun things to do this weekend in Rehoboth Beach. Here are a few of the highlights for Polar Bear Plunge Weekend.

Polar Bear Plunge

Plunge time is Sunday, February 6, at 1 p.m. sharp, but you can check-in for the event beginning on Wednesday, February 2. Check-in options are as follows:

- Wednesday, February 2, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Special Olympics office in Newark.

- Friday, February 4, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.

- Saturday, February 5, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.

- Sunday, February 6, from 10 a.m. to 12:55 p.m., at the tent near the bandstand on Rehoboth Avenue.

Polar Bear Plunge SODE Image

Note: You can also participate in this year's Polar Bear Plunge virtually if this option is more to your liking. Ideas include many of the methods used in 2021, including taking a cold shower, jumping in a kiddie pool, having a water gun fight, dumping cold water over your head (see below) or jumping through sprinklers in your yard.

If you choose this method, organizers would love to see your photos and videos.

Ice Bucket Challenge

The two photos above are courtesy of Special Olympics Delaware, the long-time financial beneficiary of the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge.

5K Run to the Plunge

The run starts at 10 a.m., on Saturday, February 5, and is a great way to support Special Olympics if jumping in frigid water doesn't excite you.

As with the Plunge itself, you can also participate in this event virtually if you choose.

Online registration is now closed, but you can still register for the run on Friday at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center or on race day at the tent near the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.

Access the course map by clicking here.

People Running

Chili Contest

This is being held from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., on Saturday, February 5, at 10 participating restaurants in Rehoboth Beach. Ballots can be purchased for $10 at any of the participating restaurants or at the Plunge Registration tent.

Anyone can vote in the contest, but you must visit at least five restaurants in order to do so.

Participating restaurants for 2022 include Arena's, Cafe Azafran (defending champion), Cooter Brown's, Dos Locos, Crabby Dick's, Kiwi's Tiki Hut at the Sands, Mariachi, Nicola Pizza, Rehoboth Ale House and The Pines.

Cup of Chili

Ice Sculpting Demonstration

The Boardwalk in front of the Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center is where you'll want to be on Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m., as sculptor Jim Lauser will be creating works of art out of giant blocks of ice.

Ice Sculpting

Sandcastle Art

Sand artist Andy West will be in Rehoboth on Saturday, February 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sunday, February 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., creating some of his sand-based works of art.

This event takes place on the beach in front of Candy Kitchen.

Sand Castle on the Beach

During a time of year when things are much quieter in Rehoboth Beach than during the spring and summer months, why not come on out and witness an unusual southern Delaware tradition.

It may be February and it may be cold, but it’s great fun and you can't beat the fantastic organization that benefits from the event.

Learn more about the 2022 Lewes Polar Bear Plunge by visiting plungede.org.

We hope to see you there!

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