What prompts a few hundred men, women and children to shed their outerwear and run headlong into the frigid Atlantic Ocean on Thanksgiving morning? More than a few spectators were likely asking this very question last Thursday as they gathered on Children’s Beach to watch the Tenth Annual Nantucket Cold Turkey Plunge. Perhaps it’s the thrill of the instant numbing effect as the icy water meets warm human skin? Maybe it’s mob mentality (mom, everyone is doing it!) Or maybe it’s just the delight that occurs when you join a group of friends and neighbors for some good clean fun. Whatever the reason, this event has become a Nantucket holiday tradition.
One of my favorite things about the people of Nantucket is their willingness to let their hair down and find creative ways to commemorate special occasions. They don’t do anything halfway…they go all out. It’s not enough to simply plunge into ice cold water; Nantucketers choose to do it in style. Participants arrived at the Cold Turkey event in elaborate holiday costumes, fluffy designer bathrobes and silly themed swim-caps. A real life Tom Turkey, smartly clad in his holiday bow, strutted about on the lawn clucking and gobbling as he delighted onlookers and posed for photo ops. Young and old alike were bright eyed and exuberant with holiday spirit.
The Cold Turkey Plunge is sponsored by the Nantucket Atheneum to raise money for the Weezie Library For Children. The island is famous for rallying residents and visitors around a common cause where others reap the benefits. I’m always struck by how these types of events are a “win-win” for all involved. The sponsoring organization raises much needed funds and participants are given an excuse to gather with friends and neighbors, do something a little outrageous and have some good old fashioned fun…all for the common good.
The next time you’re on Nantucket, be sure to peruse the “upcoming community events.” Chances are you’ll discover an event where you have the opportunity to participate in something meaningful, something philanthropic or perhaps just something downright silly. Whatever the activity, you can look forward to making some memories, meeting some fun people and broadening your horizons.