Seaside Heights And The Polar Plunge – Freezin’ For A Good Reason

Every winter people all across the country partake in one of the most bizarre traditions known to mankind. It’s been called many things, but around here, we know it as the Polar Plunge. Yes, people travel from all over to run down the frigid beaches of Seaside Heights and into water so cold it takes your breath away. Well I’m happy to say that this event, which was displaced last year due to Superstorm Sandy damage, is back and expected to be bigger than ever. I was actually at the 2012 event which saw a record-breaking 5,900 plungers tearing down the beach and flinging themselves into the balmy 20-degree waters of the Atlantic.

But as crazy as it seems, it’s all for a good cause. The plungers take on the frigid waters along with the pledge of raising money for the Special Olympics of New Jersey. Special Olympics of New Jersey is an organization dedicated to bringing pride into the lives of all involved. This not-for-profit organization provides sports training and athletic competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The group operates on an annual budget primarily funded through individual, corporate, civic and foundation dollars that make up more than 98 percent of the annual operating budget.

Also included in this chilly day of celebratory dipping will be “Cool School Challenges” meant to raise money and promote friendly competition amongst schools and their respective student bodies. The school that raises the most money will be crowned “Coolest School” and take home the Cool School Challenge trophy.

The Polar Plunge event also includes 101.5’s “The Voice of the Plunge” Big Joe Henry and his special brand of interviews, updates and final countdown to the massive and unforgettable frolic to frigidity.

Registration for the Polar Plunge starts at 9 a.m. and the event kicks off at 1 p.m. For more information on this titillating tradition, head over to njpolarplunge.org.

 

First Annual Miss Polar Pageant Unveils It All At Seaside Heights Saturday, Feb. 22, At The Aztec Lounge

While we’re on the subject of all things frosty, what more complimentary of a pairing could you come up with than a post-plunge swimsuit model pageant to raise temperatures and drum up monies for non-profit and New Jersey families in need?

Right up the way from the Polar Plunge, the Miss Polar Pageant is the icing—well, the ice—on the plungers’ cake. The savvy event is not affiliated with the Polar Plunge, but it has all the makings of an event that will be with us for a long, long time. The brainchild of Motor Media, the Miss Polar Pageant will launch on Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. at the Aztec Lounge on the boardwalk of Seaside Heights. Starring a bevy of bathing-suited New Jersey attractions, the pageant consists of several portions that will lead to the crowning of this year’s very first “Miss Polar.”

Contestants will go through multiple categories of skill including swimsuit creativity, a question and answer segment, a skill section and the Ski Bunny segment where participants dress as their best ski bunny. The grand prize is the Miss Polar crown, a one-year contract with Motor Models and $1,500.00.

The pageants’ aim is good, clean fun, and participating rules are rigorous and austere. All contestants must be at least 21 years of age and follow guidelines to the letter. There will be two runners-up, and they will respectively win $750 and $250, as well as other prizes that can be seen at the Miss Polar Pageant website.

The main goal of this function is to help fellow New Jersey homeowners that are still grappling with the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy. Helping Hands of New Jersey will be the beneficiary of this event. Grassroots and purposeful, HHONJ has been a level leader in the selfless act of reaching out with immediate kindness and results-oriented aid to storm victims along the coast and beyond. They also raise funds for toy drives and their “Bottles For Building” program. With expenses upwards of $100,000 to restore after the hurricane, HHONJ step in to build homes at no cost to the victims, and they can’t do it without you.

The Miss Polar Pageant hopes to raise enough money to help some worthy residents get back on course and into a house of their own. And there’s no more important cause on the coast. So come for the plunge and then head over to the Aztec for the most original ongoing day of fundraising fun in town. There will be live music, pageant play and lots more right at the Jersey Shore.

For further info on becoming a contest participant or to find out how you can assist Helping Hands of New Jersey, go to polarpageant.com or hhonj.org.

 

CXCW Is Relaxing At A Living Room Near You

Yeah, I know we all hear about SXSW (takes a deep breath like Jim Carrey from Pet Detective). The huge conglomerate convention where little bands go to get noticed, pay outrageous fees for hopeless slots, crawl through blood to getVIP badges, sleep at astronomically expensive flop houses, overpay for food and drink not fitting for a Billy goat and sell your soul only to get pushed out of the way by the Jay Zs and Justin Timberlakes that have turned that festival into a breeding ground of merchandising mayhem (gasp).

But Couch By Couchwest (CXCW) has the right idea. Why spend the money ($650-$1700 per person) and effort trekking to Texas when you can perform in the comfort of your very own home?

CXCW is a crowd-sourced effort, and there’s no easy path to the panel of people behind it. While remaining fairly anonymous, CXCW kingpins allow artists all over the country to participate via the internet and then the performers are pared down by a “secret cabal of musicologists and bloggers.”

I talked to my source David Horton recently, and he told me, “I am just a gear in the great wheel helping in my third successful year. Submissions have jumped drastically over the last couple of years, and we are at an all-time high right now. The first year I got three bands involved, last year I got Jerseyites/Tri-Staters Jo Wymer, Courtesy Tier, Don Ryan, Nikki Sue, Bern & The Brights, Shayfer James, Those Mockingbirds, The Bailey Hounds, Lost Romance, Joe Cirotti of Only Living Boy, The End Men, Ruby The Hatchet, Skeletons In The Piano, The Dead Exs and more. Connections and friendships were made, tours were booked, Ray Wylie Hubbard and The Dead Exs hooked up for a tour of Texas, The End Men and Skeletons In The Piano booked many shows together.”

CXCW is a simple and effective reaction produced from the initial action. You simply tune in and perform from your bathroom, kitchen, living room or other popular place that you call a stage and CXCW posts the production during the festival week of March 9-15.

So why anguish and groan about your desiring place of glory on the unattainable hipster list? CXCW loves all of you, and they show it by their warm embrace of performers and music aficionados that tune in for a bag of Doritos and an honest musical involvement from artists who champion an alternative voice to the retail giant.

Submissions for CXCW are currently being accepted for the March performance deadline. To get a better idea of how this virtual fest is blowing up around the country, or to become one of the notorious surfers of the sofa, head over to couchbycouchwest.com.

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