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'Amazing' Hampton Beach Penguin Plunge Returns in February

A previous Hampton Beach Penguin Plunge. This year's plunges are on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2. [File photo]
A previous Hampton Beach Penguin Plunge. This year's plunges are on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2. [File photo]
Rain, snow or shine, a horde of zombies will descend on the sands of Hampton Beach next month to raise money for a worthy cause and satisfy their cravings for frigid water.

The Penguin Plunge returns to the area with a zombie theme on Sunday, Feb. 2, to raise money for the state's Special Olympics programs.

Hundreds of people hop in the water each year during the festivities, and Special Olympics of New Hampshire Mary Conroy hopes 2014 will be even bigger and better than last year, which had an amazing "half of the high schools in the state participating" in the annual High School Plunge.

This year's High School Plunge, which has a school spirit theme, is on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Conroy said "so many great things happen" to her organization as a result of the two-day Penguin Plunge. Some of those things include increasing the number and types of athletic opportunities and training sessions for Granite State students, supplying teams with real uniforms, providing the students an opportunity to play on competitive travel teams, and fostering a number of unified basketball teams that allow students with and without disabilities to represent their high school in pursuit of a state championship.

"I can tell you that without the Penguin Plunge none of this would've happened," said Mary. "The energy around [the event] is amazing."

Check in for each plunge begins at 9 a.m., while the plunges start at noon following a costume parade.

Ocean Boulevard from H Street north to D Street will be shut down between 9 a.m. and roughly 2 p.m. on each day due to the event, according to Hampton Deputy Police Chief Rich Sawyer.

Sawyer said Ashworth Avenue will be turned into a two-way road to compensate, much like it is during other similar Ocean Boulevard events and road closures. 

Participants are required to raise a minimum of $350 for the Penguin Plunge and $175 for the High School Plunge.

The events include live music, food and awards, and more information can be found here.

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