BRADENTON BEACH -- From all appearances, the 73 folks who jumped into the Gulf of Mexico at noon Saturday for the third annual Shamrock Shiver drew a warm, sunny day.
Certainly warmer than the heart-stoppingly cold, rainy, blustery day for the event last year.
But appearances can be deceiving.
“The water was eight degrees colder this year,” said Mel Stowe, who, with his wife, Rayma of Clancy’s Irish Cantina, organized the plunge as a benefit for Caring for Children Charities.
All of the proceeds from the event, estimated at $25,647, go to help disadvantaged children, said Rayma Stowe.
The deceptively cold water helps explain why within moments of the participants taking the plunge, they were back on dry land toweling off.
Arnold Cervetto of Bradenton was among those jumping in for the first time, wearing his red night clothes and a Santa hat.
“It’s going to be a family tradition,” Cervetto said. “The water was cold, but when you got out you felt warm.”
Many of the participants wore quirky outfits for the plunge, including four friends, Jan Crudele, Debbie Koselny, Liza Gorin and Jeri Knight, who came as mermaids.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be,” said Koselny.
A post-plunge party at Clancy’s, 6218 Cortez Road, helped participants warm up.
The Jack Tamburin Band provided the entertainment.