BERLIN – With 2015 just hours behind them, more than 1,000 revelers donned their penguin gear and ran into the Atlantic Ocean at 91st Street in Ocean City for the AGH Penguin Swim. The turnout for the 22nd annual New Year’s Day event was fantastic, far surpassing previous attendance numbers.
“This was the largest crowd I’ve ever seen for the Penguin Swim,” said Michael Franklin, president and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital and also an annual participant. “It’s a great event to bring our community and visitors together to have a lot of fun doing something a little crazy, and at the same time help one of the most important assets in our community.”
The success of the event is due, in great part, to Penguin Swim co-chairs Sal Fasano and Madalaine How as well as the support of the communities and resort visitors Atlantic General Hospital serves.
The record-breaking crowd arrived decked-out for the event, if not as penguins then as minions, mermaids, bananas, characters from the hit 80s movie, “The Goonies” and more.
At last tally, the 2016 Swim has raised $104,000 for the not-for-profit hospital, but that number may increase as final donations make their way to the AGH Foundation.
A breakdown of top fundraisers include:
Craig Kettler (Leesburg, Va.), $3,510
Butch “Woody” German (Baltimore), $1,837
Gary Miller (Berlin), $1,150
Team – Business Category
Bull on the Beach (Ocean City), $28,000*
AGH Poppin’ Penguins (Berlin), $4,000
Fisher’s Popcorn (Ocean City), $1,000
*The Bull on the Beach team has contributed more than $400,000 to the AGH Penguin Swim since it started.
Team – Community Groups Category
Ocean City Ravens Roost #44 (Ocean City), $12,350
The Parke at Ocean Pines (Ocean Pines), $4,550
The Jamboys (Baltimore), $2,160
Individual – 18 & Under Division
Benjamin Kettler, age 16 (Leesburg, Va.), $525
Lilliana Franklin, age 18 (Berlin), $500
Nicholas Franklin, age 13 (Berlin), $500
Team – 18 & Under Division
Stephen Decatur High School (Berlin), $705
2 Beach Cuties (Reisterstown, Md.), $265
Team Ty (Reisterstown, Md.), $240
Vincent Fasano (Ocean City), three months and 20 days old
Oldest Penguin: Papa Joe Gaffney (Selbyville, Del.), 82 years and 10 months)
Best Overall Costume: “The Goonies” led by JJ Roth, Ocean City
Most Spirited: Tom Maly, Addie Aker & Maggie Miller from Ravens Roost 44, Ocean City
Most Creative: “Pirates Rule” from Bethany Vikings, Selbyville, Del.
Best Little Penguin: “3 Little Mermaids” from It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere, McKenna, Sienna & Keera, Effort, Pa.
AGH wishes to issue a special thanks to the AGH Penguin Swim sponsors, including WBOC-TV 16, Jolly Roger Amusement Parks, AGH Auxiliary, D3Corp, Bull on the Beach, Princess Royale, Trond’s Pool Care, Clear Channel Outdoor, Casino at Ocean Downs, Bluewater Development, OC Wasabi, Comcast Spotlight, Chris Parypa Photography and Direct Media USA.