By TIM KELLYThey came. They saw. They plunged into a new year and decade.Ocean City’s First Day at the Beach event was just about perfect, organizers and participants agreed.With a huge crowd of onlookers, more than 500 brave souls who decided to usher in 2020 with an, ahem, invigorating dip in the Atlantic, and almost perfect conditions, what was not to like?“I’m standing here, (shirtless, barefoot and dripping wet) and I’m not even cold,” said Jim Hudson, of Bel Air, Md., who took part in the event with his friend, Kevin Talley, of Newark, Del. “It was a great way to start the new year.”They were hardly alone, event emcee Michael Hartman said.“We had more than 300 preregistered,” he said, conservatively estimating 500-plus actually showed up for a frosty moment or two in the surf.“There were well over a thousand people here (including the spectators),” Hartman estimated.(Video courtesy of Martin Fiedler of Just Right TV Productions)According to several weather and surf report websites, the ocean temperature of 45 degrees was about the same as the air temperature, also in the mid-40s.In one of those Ocean City miracles, the sun peeked through cloudy skies and the gusty winds, which previously dropped the “feels like” temperature into the mid-30s, had subsided.Suddenly, the beach just north of Moorlyn Terrace seemed to take on a warm glow at the precise moment the event was ready to start.Carl Wanek, of Ocean City, dons an old school bathing attire and a straw hat as he prepares to run into the Atlantic with his family.Despite such ideal weather, a disclaimer went out, with Hartman urging the plungers not to go too far out in the water, or to stay in for more than a moment or two.Police, fire and EMS personnel were on hand, but were not needed.“I’ve got 2 o’clock,” Hartman finally told the waiting throng of plungers, “so let’s do a countdown!”With that, a horn and other noisemakers sounded and the sprint to the waves was underway.Young and old, male and female, locals and visitors wrapping up Ocean City’s First Night events took part.Cheers rang out from those watching on the beach and Boardwalk and alongside the Music Pier, where a DJ booth provided Hartman’s announcer podium and plenty of music.The participants also made lots of noise with primal screams during the run-up, as they hit the surf and then retreated to waiting towels and blankets.The whole thing was over in a few minutes.Fire Department personnel asked John Lovett and Daniel Selekman, both 14, of Hockessin, and Wilmington, Del., respectively, to leave the water after the boys lingered a bit too long in the sea.“We were the last ones out,” John said proudly.“It was fine,” said Daniel. “After the first couple seconds everything went numb and you couldn’t feel anything. It was fun.”John Lovett and Daniel Selekman, both 14, are the last plungers out of the water.Just prior to the event, plungers were equally stoked.Tara Peak, of Egg Harbor Township, and Jack Krise, of Mays Landing, said they were at their third Ocean City First Day at the Beach and “probably 10th” cold water plunge overall.“What better way to baptize yourself for the coming year?” Tara asked rhetorically.In keeping with Ocean City’s family image, the Esterlys, of Reading Pa., took the dip together.“We wanted to start 2020 by challenging ourselves,” said dad Jason, who dove in with wife Tara and sons Jace, 8, and 7-year-old Jett.“The boys weren’t hard to convince,” Tara said with a wide grin. “We’re probably going to have to pull them out. When they are in the ocean, they want to play. They don’t want to come out. Temperature doesn’t seem to affect them.”Representing the locals, best friends Michelle Einhorn and Christine Teeney, both members of Ocean City High School’s class of 1999, were doing their first New Year’s Day dive with kids Sienna Einhorn and Liam and Mia Teeney.All five wore festive hats.Teeney raised her hand when asked whose idea the plunge was.“I hope we’re still best friends afterward,” she said, giggling.Plungers scramble out of the frosty water after taking a dip.Friends Michelle Einhorn and Christine Teeney and kids Sienna Einhorn and Mia and Liam Teeney don appropriate headgear for their plunge.A big crowd of participants and spectators anticipate the start of the plunge. They’re off! More than 500 bathers take the ocean plunge on New Year’s Day.
Prudens Bakery has expanded its family-run business with a new shop in Stoneycroft, Hemel Hempstead. Its sixth shop opened on 7 May and business is “going very well” so far. Prudens had been looking for a new premises for a couple of years, and has now found the ideal location at the site of an existing bakers. “It closed down over a year ago,” said director Jon Pruden. “We moved in, re-fitted it and opened the Wednesday after the bank holiday.” Prudens, run by Jon and Andrew Pruden, are the third generation to run the bakery which was founded by their grandfather in 1928. They already have shops in Dunstable, Luton, Harpenden, and Adeyfield in Hemel Hempstead, as well as their head office in Markyate. It has also expanded its celebration cake business with a wedding cake showroom at their Adeyfield premises. “We built a new bakery just before 2000, and had lady called Stella Dickinson work part-time decorating the cakes for us,” said Jon Pruden. As the business grew it was evident that the Markyate premises was not large enough to house the cake decorating side of the business and has therefore been relocated.
Who is better, Hazard or Salah? The former English international has been asked: “Hazard can beat anyone one-on-one, I love it but Salah is better right now, which also only cost £ 34m (almost € 37m),” says Ferdinand, due to the injury season that the Real Madrid star is going through. In times of quarantine, Rio Ferdinand has taken advantage of the mundial world break ’to expose himself on his Instagram account to curious fans who would like to know their opinions about football and footballers today. Hazard’s past season was outstanding in the Premier League with Chelsea, but he has had no luck in his first year as a new star for Real Madrid, due to two serious injuries to his right foot: “He is a player with a lot of danger. In the one against one he can beat anyone, he is the best. However, he has not been having a good time since he joined Real Madrid,” Ferdinand ends up saying.