Dr. Seuss is the reason hundreds of people dip their bodies into the Pacific Ocean off Manzanita every New Year’s Day.
By Jordan Wolfe
“The fun factor is the biggest thing,” said Janice Gaines, owner of Spa Manzanita, who brought the event to Manzanita with 2005’s polar plunge. “It’s based on Dr. Seuss’ quote, ‘If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.’”
Gaines uses the term “fun-raiser” to describe the annual event. The day is simply dedicated to fun – no fundraising is allowed and no causes are attached to the polar plunge.“It’s a really cool, wonderful thing to do,” she said, “It crosses all barriers, philosophy and politics to create a bunch of smiles.”
During Sunday’s plunge, Gaines and other organizers gathered at 9:30 a.m. to prepare a large bonfire for guests to enjoy before and after the 11 a.m. plunge-time.
“The ocean is yours, you can jump in anytime you want,” she said, “We get organized so everyone goes in at the same time with a countdown.”
Gaines estimated 300 – 400 people were in attendance on the beach with nearly half of them running, walking and diving into the ocean.
“People do drive in just for the event,” said Gaines.
2017’s Polar Plunge had visitors from Seattle, but she added people have participated from all over the country.
“I talked to a young gal who wasn’t too excited,” said Gaines. “She told me it was her best friend’s birthday and she loves this. I thought it was so cool she did it out of love.”
She added the Polar Plunge is a great way to begin 2017 because of the pure joy of doing something crazy and wacky.
“There is nothing to be scared of,” said Gaines. “It’s just a great way to start the new year. And if you are scared, it’s good to face your fears.”
A recurring theme with Manzanita’s polar plunge is the weather.
“We’ve never had rain,” Gaines said, “It’s been sunny every single year. There was one year we had a little drizzle, but it’s just been a trip. I have no idea what’s going on with that.”
However, if the weather ever turns, Gaines could look to another Dr. Seuss quote:
“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”