It’s New Year’s Day and for most of the 21 years we’ve lived in Gig Harbor Dave has participated in the Polar Bears’ jump off the Olalla Bridge a noon on New Year’s Day. Today was the mildest in memory. We’ve slipped and slid in snow out the windy hills to the hamlet of Olalla for this event. Although participation in this event holds nothing for me, it is not a mystery as to why Dave does it. In short, he has a thrill seeking gene. When he asks where mine is, I tell him that I satisfied it marrying him.
The event at the Olalla Bridge has been going on for twenty-seven years. The crowds of people and cars have caused authorities to threaten to shut down the event, but in all the years we’ve gone I’ve never seen anyone get hurt or there to be any sort of altercation requiring the police. They come, but mostly to make sure that the gawkers don’t wander out in front of cars.
At noon (or just before in today’s case) a cannon is fired and people of all ages and garb (and occasionally sans garb) jump off the side of the bridge over Olalla’s lagoon. There’s a bonfire on the beach to warm the jumpers and there’s free coffee and cocoa at Al’s Store. There you can pick up your certificate and buy a sweat shirt, the money from which goes to the food bank.
There weren’t a lot of costumes this year, but there were a few including a pair of ladies in black bathing suits who had 2-0-1-2 written on their bums in black marker. There was also a cowboy and an angel and of course Dave in his Goofy hat, a birthday gift from my son Frank and his family.
I was able to snap Dave’s picture just before the pulled off his sweatshirt, but he jumped before I could make it down to the beach to get his picture. I think that was on purpose as he said he didn’t want his picture taken with his shirt off.