Shamrock Shiver leaves them laughing

The only red tide at this year's Shamrock Shiver. - Tom Vaught | Sun

The New Year got off to a great start on Cortez Beach when as many as 150 people watched and participated in the annual Shamrock Shiver, a fundraiser with a costume contest judged by the audience and participants before they walked into the Gulf waters.

Clancy’s Irish Pub in Bradenton was the sponsor and the proceeds from the entry fee and after-splash party at Clancy’s will go to Caring for Children Charities d/b/a Florida Winefest and Auction.

Unlike those polar bear events up north, the biggest hazard to the splashers was sunburn, not frostbite. The water was warm to the tourists and visitors, but a little too cool to those who live there.

Once again, the costume costume was proof that there is no shortage of insanity when it comes to this annual event. The costumes ranged from a pastor in a robe to a group of Clancy’s employees and relatives with red and white shirts with a “Where’s Waldo” theme. The winner was Robert Nott, dressed in Amish garb. He survived a three-way tie with “Red Tide” Ron Stout, who dyed himself red and vowed to push red tide “out to the deep Gulf,” and the “Where’s Waldo” gang.

Also of note were Paul Devine with an inflatable sea turtle on his back who delighted the crowd by stooping down and dropping plastic eggs on the sand and when everybody else was walking to the Gulf, he scooted along on all fours, leaving his owns unusual tracks. Also, Bill Capilatano wowed them with a cloak over a T-shirt wth a monkey’s face.

It was all in fun and thankfully, the county didn’t have to shut down the beach when “Red Tide” Ron Stout entered the water. He did express his wish that he could get the red dye off his skin.