Dunleavy’s Polar Plunge returns Saturday after COVID hiatus

Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 6:11 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2021 at 8:18 AM EST
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SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Dunleavy’s Pub is hosting their 27th Annual Polar Plunge Saturday after being canceled earlier this year due to COVID-19.

Canceling the event in 2021 was a “no-brainer,” according to owner and host Bill Dunleavy, but he now says he’s excited to pack the beach with thousands of participants once again.

“We expect a big crowd because we haven’t had it in two years,” Dunleavy said. “We’re very excited.”

The community is also showing their support and excitement for the event’s big return.

“We’ve had lots of phone calls. We’ve had lots of people come in and ask us about it,” Jamie Maher, General Manager of Dunleavy’s Pub, said. “People are excited to get back to doing something they enjoyed doing two years ago and haven’t been able to do.”

The New Year’s Day tradition raises money for Special Olympics of South Carolina, which supports nearly 30,000 athletes across the state.

Dunleavy says around 7,000 plunged in 2019, running full speed into the frigid water of Sullivan’s Island Beach. That year, the event raised $32,000 for Special Olympics of South Carolina.

The event is free to participate in, but event organizers do encourage donations. Those donations benefit the Special Olympics of South Carolina.

Dunleavy says the event will likely hit a big fundraising milestone this year.

“Right now, we’ve raised about $495,000 for Special Olympics, so we’re definitely going to be surpassing $500,000 this year,” Dunleavy says.

Participants can meet at Dunleavy’s Pub on New Year’s Day and make their way toward the beach for the plunge at 2 p.m. More details on the event can be found on Dunleavy’s Facebook.

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