Oct 16, 2023

New Year's Day 2022 polar plunge locations in Newport County

A year after most polar plunges were halted by COVID concerns, many will be lining up on the shores of Newport County to start 2022 with a dip in the ocean — all for a good cause. Here is where you can plunge locally on Jan. 1:

This event draws roughly 5,000 a year and benefits A Wish Come True, a Warwick-based organization celebrating its 40th year. Proceeds from this year's Polar Plunge will help Benjamin, who is 9, and Elijah, 5, both of whom want to go to Disney World, the organization said in a press release.

The plunge will begin Jan. 1 at noon. Participants are encouraged to arrive early due to new check-in requirements addressing safety protocols. Check-in begins at 10:30 a.m.

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There will be a charge of $20 for "Minnows" to plunge. For $40, "Sharks" can plunge and get their choice of a towel or fleece blanket. Those who want to contribute without getting into the water can purchase a towel, fleece blanket or T-shirt for $25. Payments can be made by cash, check, credit card or Venmo.

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This event dates back to the early 1970s, says John Vitkevich, who has helped organize it since 2012. Why is it called the Polar Dive? "Because Island Park used to be a dive," he said. "It was a sarcastic thing. It's not like that anymore."

Vitkevich on Jan is in charge of igniting the 384 wooden pallets (one for each year since the founding of the town in 1638) at exactly 11:18 a.m. to the Doors hit "Light My Fire" before the divers — he estimates about 100 — jump into the brisk water at noon to Foreigner's "Cold as Ice."

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An after party is slated to be held at nearby Tremblay's restaurant, where raffles will be held and donations collected to benefit the Island Park Preservation Society. There will also be volunteers collecting donations on the beach.

Vitkevich, a 48-year resident of Island Park, said he’d like to see divers paint a message on their bodies. "We’re asking everyone to get creative. Get some paint and paint a message," he said. "We all need a bath from 2021, and what a great way to wash off 2021."

Tiverton Yacht Club's 10th annual New Year's Day Penguin Plunge will take place Jan. 1 at noon.

Pledge sheets are now available at the Tiverton Public Library, 34 Roosevelt Ave. They can also be downloaded from the library's website at The "Penguins" will gather on Grinnell's Beach around 11:45 a.m. As in previous years, the Penguin Plunge supports the Tiverton Public Library through donations from participants and from supporters who watch the event from the shore.

All are welcome, and New Year's hats, colorful holiday pajamas and (especially) good tidings are encouraged! Coastal Roasters of Tiverton will be at the beach with fresh hot coffee, locally roasted and always delicious. Unlike previous plunges, however, there will be no after-plunge celebration indoors.

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Though not required for participation, Penguins are encouraged to seek pledges. No minimum amount of pledges or donations are required. Donations in any amount are appreciated and tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Please make checks payable to Tiverton Library Foundation. All pledge forms and donations should be brought to the beach at the time of the event.

For more information, contact the library at 401-625-6796 or Greg Jones at [email protected].

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