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Plungefest 2014

Two women share a hug following their successful completion of the plunge.The 2014 edition of Plungefest, i.e. the Special Olympics of Maryland and the Maryland State Police‘s annual polar bear plunge at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis, was a long time in coming.  Unlike most years, when the event is held in late January, the 2014 event was held on March 8, after the event, originally scheduled for January 25, had to be cancelled due to unsafe conditions caused by high winds, that not only created large waves on the Chesapeake Bay, but also toppled some of the tents.  While the event’s cancellation was disappointing, it was the right thing to do, as it would have been reckless to run the event after the tents’ structural integrity had already been compromised.

The conditions on March 8, the rescheduled date, were perfect.  The skies were clear, the bay was flat, and the air temperature was above freezing (though the water was around 30 degrees), which more than made up for the poor conditions on the original date.  The event was minimalistic compared to most years, as there was no sponsor tent and very few vendors of any sort around, and had a much more casual atmosphere overall, with three open plunges on the hour at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00.

None of this, however, should be taken to mean that the event was any less fun.  Participants from across the state had a great time, with many festive costumes, and lots of big smiles.


 A member of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department shows off her temporary back tattoo, consisting of the fire department's initials, SSVFD. A member of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department shows off his temporary back tattoo, consisting of the fire department's initials, SSVFD.
A member of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department shows off his temporary back tattoo, consisting of the fire department's initials, SSVFD.
Three members of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department show off their temporary back tattoo, consisting of the fire department's initials, SSVFD. Front view of the three members of Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department
Two women are interviewed on the beach for WBAL, the NBC affiliate for the Baltimore area. Two women are interviewed on the beach for WBAL, the NBC affiliate for the Baltimore area.
Two women are interviewed on the beach for WBAL, the NBC affiliate for the Baltimore area.
A woman dressed as the Joker from the Batman franchise poses for the camera, having a mixed level of success in making a proper "Joker" face. A woman dressed as the Joker from the Batman franchise poses for the camera, having a mixed level of success in making a proper "Joker" face.
A group of five people poses for the camera at the beginning of the event.  The man in the middle is holding a t-shirt reading "109 Crew". Three women in polar bear hats pose for a photo in front of the water.
Two women wearing polar bear hats with paws pose for a third person for a photo in front of the water.
A woman takes a photo with her phone while another woman looks on. A man, having painted his body blue to show Navy pride, poses for the camera prior to taking the plunge.
A boy and girl play in the sand on the beach. A boy and girl play in the sand on the beach.
A young girl plays in the sand on the beach.
One of the support divers in a drysuit floats in the water, awaiting the start of the third and final plunge of the day.
A woman takes a rest on the beach between the second and third plunges. A woman makes a nervous face prior to taking the plunge.
A man holds a woman in his arms as they pose for a photo next to the water.
A Maryland Natural Resources Police boat floats on the water just offshore.
A man shows off his Sonic the Hedgehog costume, consisting of a Sonic-style hat, and a beaded face mask featuring Sonic's face. A man shows off his Sonic the Hedgehog costume, consisting of a Sonic-style hat, and a beaded face mask featuring Sonic's face.
A man shows off his Sonic the Hedgehog costume, consisting of a Sonic-style hat, and a beaded face mask featuring Sonic's face.
Three of the support divers, wearing drysuits, hold a conversation while standing in the water. One of the support divers in a drysuit stands in the water, awaiting the third and final plunge of the day.
Four teenaged girls take the plunge together. A couple poses for photos while standing in the water during the third and final plunge of the day.
Five women go in the water together during the second plunge of the day.
A man and two women pose for photos with the support divers.
Two women in bikinis and sunglasses take the plunge.
A group of Baltimore Ravens fans takes the plunge. Three women take a selfie in the water.
Members of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department take the plunge in the Chesapeake Bay.
A man poses for photos before leaving the water during the third and final plunge of the day.
A woman floats in the water during the second plunge of the day.
A man poses for a photo of himself shaking hands with the support divers during the third and final plunge of the day. A young girl smiles in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
A photographer wearing waders takes photos from the water.
A mother and child take the plunge together.
A man poses for a photo with the support divers.
A woman emerges from the water after taking the plunge. A woman wearing a bikini runs into the water during the third and final plunge of the day.
A man and two women take the plunge during the third and final plunge of the day.
A woman gives a high five to one of the support divers during her plunge.
A woman poses for a photo while hanging onto a male companion in the water during the third and final plunge of the day. A woman gives a high five to one of the support divers during her plunge.
A man exits the water following his successful completion of the plunge.
Two women take photos of two other women after having completed the plunge. A man, having painted his body blue to show Navy pride earlier in the day, shows off some of the blue paint that had come off onto his towel following his completion of the plunge.
A woman who had previously made a nervous face prior to plunging, smiles following her successful completion of the plunge.
Several women in bikinis pose with the support divers in drysuits.

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