Shamrock Shiver lives up to its name

Shamrock Shiver
Many of the participants had rafts with toucan heads, despite a small craft advisory issued by the National Weather Service. - Tom Vaught | Sun

BRADENTON BEACH – Ten years ago, a group of Clancy’s Irish Pub customers decided to emulate the polar bear events that saw people plunge into frigid water on New Year’s Day in locations where the temperatures got truly cold. The planners here felt it would be rare if the temperature at semi-tropical Cortez Beach dipped too low.

New Year’s Day 2018 was one of those times.

Close to 100 costumed people participated in the 10th annual Shamrock Shiver, a fundraiser for Caring for Children Charities, d/b/a Florida Winefest & Auction, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged children in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Because there was a costume contest, teams of participants dotted the beach. Jen and Mark Bowman, from Keller-Williams Realty, had their team of toucans, people with long yellow noses and black costumes. They chanted “Toucan do it!” One entry wore a Superman costume and carried a large plunger. Perhaps the most interesting was a woman dressed up as Miss Alaska… Angelina Klapperich is Miss Alaska and she’s visiting her mother in Manatee County. She was wearing very little compared with all the others and she said she’s used to the cold. The costume winner was Peggy Garten, who wore a beard and wig and looked like a man looking like a woman.

As the time neared for the start, revelers tested the water and found it felt warm compared to the temperature of the air.

When the participants got the start signal, they proceeded rapidly to the water, splashed around a little, turned around and headed to their vehicles. Most of them headed for Clancy’s for an après freeze party where raffles and auctions raised more than $20,000 for Caring For Children.

“It was a hell of a way to get over a hangover,” one participant said.