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'You Go Numb': HdG Duck Dunk

"...it felt like something was biting you—that's how cold it was." —Duck Dunker

Duck Dunkers ran into the water at 10 a.m. on Saturday. (Credit: Elizabeth Janney)
Duck Dunkers ran into the water at 10 a.m. on Saturday. (Credit: Elizabeth Janney)
Flurries were falling minutes before the Duck Dunk in Havre de Grace, but that didn't stop more than a dozen people from running into the frigid waters by the City Yacht Basin.

"You go numb instantly," Tory Egan said after emerging from the water in her blue tutu and black bikini.

Egan said she came out to support her coworker at Cytec who's a member of the Susquehanna Hose Company, which hosted the fundraiser.

It was 34 degrees Saturday morning at the yacht basin, and below freezing with wind chill.

"When you got in there, it felt like something was biting you—that's how cold it was," said Steve Kenton, a firefighter who won "best costume" for his dunking attire of Mardi Gras beads and star-shaped sunglasses.

The weather was a deterrent for some people, according to Dena Cardwell, who organized the event with Wendi Hurst.

"People were concerned about the ice floating down the Susquehanna River," Cardwell said, noting she received emails throughout the week with questions about the conditions.

Even though it was chilly out, Cardwell said this was nothing compared to the inaugural affair in 2012. "There was so much slush, it had to be plowed" just so dunkers could get into the parking lot, she said.  

As participants ran down the boat ramp and into the water Saturday, screaming and cheering ensued.

"It freezes the shock right out of you," Susquehanna Hose Company Chief Scott Hurst said just before the 10 a.m. plunge. He noted the hose company's dive team was on hand in case of an emergency, in addition to the Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps.

Hurst, who dunked the first two years, said the Susquehanna Hose Company started the Duck Dunk in 2012 to supplement its annual fund drive. Between donations and sponsorships, he said last year's dunk netted approximately $10,000.

This year, registrants donated or raised $35 in pledges, and there was a contest to see who could get the most donations.

Two elected officials were among the top three fund-raisers for 2014: City Councilman Bill Martin brought in $250 in pledges; Mayor Wayne Dougherty yielded $200; and Alex Cardwell won third place with $160. In Havre de Grace style, each received a decoy.

Related: Duck Dunk 2014 Video 


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