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Winter Fun in North Beach

With the Polar Bear Plunge New Year’s Day and a portable ice skating rink set up for fun the first weekend of the New Year, North Beach become the winter capital of Chesapeake Country.
    On New Year’s Day, weather-defying swimmers plunge into 2013 and earn a certificate for braving the elements at North Beach’s Polar Bear Swim. Go as far as you can whether knee-deep or all the way under. Wear a bathing suit or a Santa suit in (G-strings banned) and bring a towel, blanket and dry clothes so you can stay to drink hot cudar and roast marshmallows at the bonfire. New this year: Official (and controversial) registration fee of $25 in advance or day of, includes  T-shirt, certificate and exempts town from damages. Benefits the North Beach Boys and Girls Club. Will refuseniks plunge for free? 12:30pm sign up; 1pm plunge at North Beach waterfront, by the pier: 301-855-6681; www.northbeachmd.org.
    The 24-by-40-foot rink will be set up at the end of the town pier, occupying about a third of it. The rink is big enough to hold up to 20 skaters at a time.
    “People will feel like they’re skating over the Bay,” says Mayor Mark Frazer.
    They’ll also feel like they’re skating on ice, but they won’t be. Slick synthetic panels stand in for the real thing.
    The North Beach town council is renting the temporary rink from Fantasy World Entertainment. Trained Fantasy World attendants supervise all skating sessions for safety.
    The rink can hold 18 to 20 people at a time. $5 w/$3 skate rental and $1 hot chocolate
    Skate Fri. Jan 4 from 6-10pm; Sat. Jan 5 from noon-10pm; and Sun. Jan. 6 from noon-6pm.
    Information? North Beach Welcome Center: 410-286-3799.

$25 to Plunge: Why Must There Always Be a Price Tag?

I’ve been waiting for the day that the town of North Beach sticks its greedy hand out to charge fun-loving people the privilege to run into the frigid Bay. Even though I have never (and will never) run into the cold water, I’ve enjoyed watching the antics of New Year’s revelers plunging in for the fun of it. And that’s the point: For the fun of it. Now it’s for charity. Why can’t something be done for fun? Why must there always be a price tag? I understand that it’s for the Boys and Girls Club, but $25 to run into a mass of water that’s for all of us to enjoy? Come on! I say everyone boycott the plunge until it is once again a fun, free-for-all. Emphasize the free.

–Allen Delaney, Prince Frederick