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More than 1,000 take the plunge at 39th annual Polar Bear Dip in Cayucos

Polar Bears take the plunge and greet the New Year in Cayucos

Creative costumes, high spirits and drums punctuated the 39th Annual Carlin Soule Memorial Polar Bear Dip at the Cayucos, California pier on New Year's Day 2019.
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Creative costumes, high spirits and drums punctuated the 39th Annual Carlin Soule Memorial Polar Bear Dip at the Cayucos, California pier on New Year's Day 2019.

Mor than 1,000 people welcomed the new year Tuesday by taking a plunge into the Pacific Ocean in Cayucos.

The Carlin Soulé Memorial Polar Bear Dip, now in its 39th year, featured all the usual merriment, with groups and individuals dressing up in colorful costumes for the dash into the sea.

Hundreds of people welcomed the new year Tuesday by taking a plunge into the Pacific Ocean in Cayucos.

The Carlin Soulé Memorial Polar Bear Dip, now in its 39th year, featured all the usual merriment, with groups and individuals dressing up in colorful costumes for the dash into the sea.

The event featured people in costumes taylored from pink tablecloth, as well as shirtless drummers and participants donned in Santa Claus outfits.

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Josiah Johnstone, left, and Steve Lindsmeir wore green for the 39th annual Carlin Soule Memorial Polar Bear Dip was held at noon January 1, 2019 at the Cayucos Pier. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Those plunging themselves in water that was estimated to be around 53 degrees by Pacific Gas & Electric meteorologist John Lindsey.

The drummers helped build the suspense of the chilly midday mass dip into the ocean with steady pounding from a drum circle. And before the plunge, kids and adults mingled, danced, and ran in place to gather courage for their adventure.

“If anybody needs a pink table cloth, come over to my house,” said Hailey Townley, showing off her costume.

“Anything you need you can find at the Dollar Store,” said Keenan Hartig, joining in the fun.

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.


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