PANAMA CITY BEACH— Looking for something different to do tomorrow? Here is the Beach’s version of a Polar Bear Club.
The Arctic Wolf Club is preparing to howl in the New Year with a plunge into the chilly waters of Econfina Creek on New Year’s Day, a ritual now in its eighth year. No they will not need to chop a in the ice before the plunge but it sounds like fun anyway.
Mark and Sandi Wolf have been hosting the event on their farm each year to raise money for charity, most notably the Seacrest Wolf Preserve near Chipley, the Council on Aging and the Gulf Coast Community College Foundation. Sandi Wolf expects about 300 people to attend the event at their farm, with about 100 jumpers.
Mark Wolf said they had always been interested in doing charity work, including an earlier trail-riding event for cancer. A few years ago they started the Arctic Wolf Club and the creek jumps. With their last name, it seemed a good fit. The jumpers will go one at a time from a rope swing, howling like a wolf the whole way. Each jumper will get a certificate or button to show they participated. Awards will be given for the youngest and oldest jumper.
Besides the big jump, the event also features a chili cook-off, a howling contest for the kids and an educational presentation on wolves. Those people who wish to come out and participate are encouraged to visit the Web site arcticwolfclub.com and bring a side dish. There is a suggested donation of $10 per jumper and $20 for those who just want to come and experience the fun. Last year, the event raised about $3,000.
The event begins at noon New Year’s Day with the jump taking place at 2 p.m. Jumpers in the past have ranged from 72 years old to 2 years.
If you want to participate in the chili cook-off you should bring your pots before noon.
All jumpers will have to sign a release form. In case you wonder the spring-fed creek should be 67 degrees with the ambient temperature forecast for 64. The Gulf is around 60 degrees if you are looking for a colder swim.
To get to the jump, turn east on State 388 from State 77 and go about 7.5 miles, cross the Econfina Creek Bridge. Take the first left after the bridge at Dogwood Lane. There should be balloons marking the road. Follow the signs.