Two of Nantucket’s famous traditions, the Cold Turkey Plunge and the Turkey Trot, took place over Thanksgiving break. The Cold Turkey Plunge is an annual fundraiser to benefit the Weezie Library for Children, in which crowds of islanders run into the frigid harbor water. The Plunge is a tradition on Nantucket, and this was the 18th consecutive year it took place. This year, the Turkey Plunge was originally scheduled to be held on Thanksgiving morning, but due to freezing temperatures and winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour, it was postponed until the day after Thanksgiving. According to authorities, the high winds would make it much too difficult for lifeguards to get in and out of the water if they were needed, causing a safety hazard. Although the Plunge was postponed, the temperature on the day of the event was just as cold as the original date; however, the winds were not nearly as strong.
On Friday the 23rd, over a thousand people gathered around Children’s beach waiting to watch the brave participants rush into the 45 degree water at 10:45 AM. Although some people only took a quick dip in the frigid waters and then got out to warm up, others even went as far as to swim around and chat with friends and family. Once people were ready to get out, they wrapped themselves in towels to dry off, and thick blankets to stay warm.
Sophomore Bella Cutone, who’s family attends the Plunge every year, shared her experience, “It was so cold that it felt like needles, but it’s always a fun holiday tradition.”
Every year, a wide range of ages participate in the Cold Turkey Plunge. This year, the oldest plunger was 82 years old and had been plunging for a total of 17 consecutive years. Unfortunately, he said that this would most likely be his last year to participate in this great Nantucket tradition. The youngest plunger was 6 years old and it was their first time ever plunging. Even though many locals did participate, they were not the only ones to take part in the plunge; people came from all over to jump in the freezing water. The furthest plungers were all the way from Australia and were visiting Nantucket. It was also an eight-year-old boy’s birthday the same day of the plunge. As a result of the cold Turkey Plunge, over 1,000 dollars were raised for the Weezie Library.
In addition to the Cold Turkey Plunge, another popular tradition that also happened over Thanksgiving break was the Turkey Trot. The Turkey Trot is al thanksgiving themed 5K race that is hosted each year by the Nantucket Triathlon Club and Nantucket Hotel. It started at 8:00 this year and all the runners ran around Brant Point and up to the Cliff. Usually, the runners are able to watch the Turkey Plunge once they complete the race, but due to the change of date, they were unable to this year.
The Cold Turkey Plunge has raised over $100,000 for the Weezie Library for Children, and is a tradition that will continue to be a source of excitement and community bonding for Nantucketers and visitors alike.
By Sydney Ryder