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Wilds Family Films - New Year’s Day Swim

Judy Wilds

Silent | 1960s

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  •  Cadre of clowns 
  •  Taking the plunge 
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This 1960s home movie captures the annual New Year’s Day swim in Corpus Christi. Onlookers gather on the beach, where they are entertained by a number of clowns, before participants dip into the chilly waves. The tradition began in 1955, after Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce manager Dan Chamberlain dared six staff members to take the plunge in 45-degree weather. After the stunt received positive media attention, the Chamber of Commerce decided to make the swim an annual affair, later adding a beauty pageant to the festivities. While brave individuals continue to take a dip on New Year’s Day, the official event was discontinued in 1978.