4th annual Polar Dip slated for Feb. 10

“Dippers” at the second Oxford Polar Plunge braved the chilly air and the Tred Avon River to take the plunge for families to attend Camp Sunshine.

OXFORD — Toes will be be cold but hearts will be warm as Oxford prepares to once again brave the chilly Tred Avon River for its third annual Oxford Polar Dip.

“I have been jumping for years in Virginia, and I thought it would be great to do it here in Oxford,” John Sutton, Maryland Polar Dip coordinator. “The Eastern Shore is kind of quiet this time of year, so I thought, let’s do something to liven it up, while doing something for charity.”

Sutton and his wife Dodi, who moved to Oxford six years ago, organized the event with a team of local residents and support from the Oxford Business Association.

Each year, participants can chose to take a plunge in the chilly Tred Avon River or earn the title of “Chicken Dipper,” by only dipping in a toe or two. Either way it’s “bone-chilling” fun for a great cause.

The annual dip aids in sending families from the Mid-Shore area to Camp Sunshine, a cost-free retreat on Sebago Lake in Casco, Maine, for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

While the camp itself is considered free for families it takes $2,500 per family to cover the cost of all meals and accommodations, recreational opportunities, psychosocial workshops, and a 24-hour onsite physician.

Sutton said that is why the Oxford Dip is so important. Over the last two years the dip has made it possible for many families to visit Camp Sunshine.

During the first Oxford dip, they had 30 “Dippers” and raised $15,000, and last year they had 50, and raised $14,000. This year’s goal is again $15,000 and Sutton feels confident they will surpass it this year.

“Each year the event is growing and I think with the Community Center joining — I think we will exceed that goal,” Sutton said. “It is our goal to raise in excess of $15,000. That is enough to send 6 families to Camp Sunshine.”

Over the last two years, there have been a few notable “Dippers” at the Oxford Dip including Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore, and Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot, and Miss Maryland Teen USA.

This year Sutton is hoping for an even bigger turnout and of course great weather, but he said even if the Tred Avon is frozen over that will not stop him and the other dippers from taking the plunge.

“Hopefully it will be a day we will want to be out in, last two years it was in the 40s. So we will see,” Sutton said. “But either way we are going in one way or another.”

Throughout the month of February there will be “Dips” up and down the Mid-Atlantic region including Long Branch, New Jersey; Portland Maine; Reston, Virginia; Long Island, New York; and Wakefield, Rhode Island. There are 10 other “Dips” in total, with a goal to raise $275,000 in order to {span}send 110 families to illness-specific sessions at Camp Sunshine in 2018.{/span}

The Oxford Dip will be held at noon Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Tred Avon Yacht Club. Participants and spectators are invited to drop- n to the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department for a warm breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m., prior to braving the frigid water.

Each dipper, whether a plunger, double dipper or “chicken dipper,” must raise $100 to participate and will receive a t-shirt for their efforts.

In addition to the dip, their will be a Polar Dip kickoff reception on Friday, Jan. 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., on Friday Jan. 26, at the Oxford Community Center.

At the kick off party their will be beer, wine, and food provided by Doc’s Sunset Grill, and a silent auction.

Sponsors of this year’s dip include Benson and Mangold Real Estate, Doc’s Sunset Grill, JHM Photography, KeyW Corporation, Oxford Volunteer Fire Department, and the Tred Avon Yacht Club.

Follow me on Twitter @Dspiering617

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