PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Despite the freezing temperatures, St. Patrick's Day plungers fearlessly raced into water off East End beach. The chilly swim is a local St. Paddy's Day tradition that benefits the Portland Firefighters' Children's Burns Foundation.
"It started with some Ri Ra bartenders going in the water to get ready for the 6 a.m. open, shaking off the cobwebs from the night before," said David Petruccelli, president of the Children's Burn Foundation.
The crowd cheered with excitement before the dip, covered in blankets. When they plunge-time came around 5:30 a.m. most of the plungers got in and out of the water quickly.
"It was colder afterwards than during. I did get my hair wet," said first time plunger Libby Cummings.
Swimmers didn't stay cold for long because Ri Ra Irish Pub rewarded them with a breakfast Guinness and hot breakfast.
Petruccelli said the plunge is their biggest fundraiser of the year. He said the event started with a couple of dozen and this year there were 75 swimmers.