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The new year is fast approaching. While resolutions and party favors galore top the list for many people’s agenda to ring in 2015, a host of folks once again will take a brisk dip in the Atlantic Ocean in Surf City to signify the arrival of January 1.

Dolphin Dip

Dolphin Dip attendees will venture into the ocean at noon on New Year’s Day. Courtesy photo.

For 13 years Brian Moxey, a lover of all things nautical and an avid surfer, has been holding the Dolphin Dip Extravaganza to celebrate the area’s coastal heritage that jumpstarts the new year. What began as a gathering of neighbors and friends for a New Year’s Day trip to the beach has since become a benefit that attracts folks by the thousands. Last year alone, 7,500 people showed up to brave the cold waters at noon.

“I look back and I’m amazed at how much it’s grown,” Moxey shares. ”[It] certainly came from humble beginnings, and I didn’t expect this outcome.”

The event, which takes place near Roland Avenue, implores attendees to begin their new year with a sense of adventure by plunging into the ocean at noon sharp. While a healthy dose of fun largely epitomizes the Dolphin Dip, the event also benefits a local charity each year. Funds come from corporate sponsors and by brave dippers getting sponsorships to take the plunge. This year a competition is being held to find the participant who can raise the most funds by January 1. Dolphin Dip organizers promise an awesome prize is at stake. Folks can sponsor participants at

Past recipients of funds have included Lower Cape Fear Hospice Center and Habitat for Humanity. Last year the Jacksonville-based nonprofit Hope for Warriors benefitted from around $10,000.

“It’s a free event, so I like having people come to get in the water,” Moxey says. “It’s always gonna be a free event, and when we raise money, however much we can raise is awesome, too.”

This year the Dolphin Dip will collect monies for Carolina Beach nonprofit Ocean Cure. “They’re a smaller organization, and they take handicapped kids, wounded vets, and PTSD veterans and take them out surfing,” Moxey tells. “They have some incredible stories about how the water helps people. I have a soft spot for helping people, especially in the water.”

Starting about eight years ago, Moxey began holding a logo designing competition for area Topsail High School students. The winner gets their logo displayed on Dolphin Dip t-shirts along with a $100 prize. This year’s winner is Haley Gragg. T-shirt sales will aid Ocean Cure.

“I thought [the logo design competition]was a great way to get the kids involved,” Moxey explains. “The kids love it, and it’s good practice for them to do graphic design for a customer.”

Though the real star of the day is the Atlantic Ocean, a plethora of fun also will be had on land. This year the Dolphin Dip will feature a walking and talking T-Rex, named Sally, staright out of Concord, NC, based company Dakota and Friends. Helmed by puppeteer Ed Bounds, the company performs at parties across the region, using elaborate dinosaurs that Bounds makes move and talk from the inside.

A tribal drumming troupe from Beaufort, SC, will be returning, and bagpipe players will be performing as well. The Kenansville belly-dancing troupe, Barefoot Gypsies,  will join Surf City for the 2015 Dolphin Dip again. As well, kiddies can “let it go” for the new year with Anna and Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen.” The princesses will be on hand to take pictures and greet youngsters alongside SpongeBob SquarePants, Elmo, and a host of other characters available for photo ops.

Jamie Poletti from Strength and Elegance will return this year to demonstrate her prowess for aerial dance. Each year the Dolphin Dip helps set up for her elaborate performance. Her show routinely wows guests, as the beach momentarily transforms into a graceful, acrobatic circus act.

As always, a highlight for the event will be the kids and adult costume contest.” “We’ve had all kids of stuff in the past, from an Alcatraz prisoner to mermaids,” Moxey comments.

Last year’s winner for the kid’s competition appropriately was a dolphin costume. The contest will take place at 11:30 a.m.

“My main goal is to expose people to the beach here and what a great area we live in,” Moxey concludes. “They go in [on New Year’s Day], and they didn’t think they could do it. When they do go in, it makes their other resolutions seem more attainable. And it just feels good to go in the water.”


Dolphin Dip Extravaganza

101 Roland Avenue
Thurs., January 1, 11 a.m.
Tickets: Free
(910) 526-3788

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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