OKALOOSA ISLAND, Fla. (WKRG) — The 7th annual Pelican Plunge at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island raised more than $7,600 for the Emerald Coast Foundation.
“We had 201 people attend this year, the one was a little girl and she actually won our costume contest,” said ECF board member Donna Tashik. “We were expecting it to be down, so many things in the world of nonprofits are down this year, and this one we had a little bit more so we’re happy.”
201 attendees is more than in previous years. The water sat around 65 degrees on Sunday, Jan. 1. Tashik said the marine patrol assisting for safety asked the plungers to stay within 10 feet of water due to rough surf.
Foggy weather made the event more memorable. Tashik said it was like a scene from a movie.
Lori L. Hamilton shared the following photos with WKRG News 5:
“We saw it one time like that before, it was either the second or third year we did it. It’s almost an ominous feeling,” said Tashik. “But we were really excited between that and the economy, we had so many people come out and the families just mean a lot to me.”
The money raised helps ECF donate to local children’s charities around Okaloosa County. The next big fundraiser is the Boat Poker Run in August. Each year the organization donates more than $100,000 to different groups.
“It’s for all boats,” said Tashik. “Our big sponsor is the IP Casino in Biloxi. Everybody that registers for our poker run gets just go have a stay at the IP casino.”
Tashik said a big thank you to The Boardwalk in Okaloosa Island for hosting the pelican plunge. The location gave free hot chocolate and snacks to everyone in attendance.