(Dec. 28, 2018) Atlantic General Hospital will complete its yearlong 25th anniversary celebration on Tuesday with the annual Penguin Swim.

Hundreds of men, women and children will run into the ocean at 91st Street on New Year’s Day as a fundraiser for Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin.

“The Penguin Swim is a fun, annual event to support our not-for-profit community hospital,” AGH Event Coordinator Joy Stokes said. “Each year, hundreds of penguins raise funds to help the hospital provide the excellent quality care our community depends on.”

Registration and check-in for the 2019 Penguin Swim will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at the Princess Royale Hotel on 91st Street, with the swim starting at 1 p.m. The cost is $25 per swimmer. All registered swimmers will receive an official 2019 Penguin Swim T-shirt.

Early registration and advance check-in will be available on Monday, Dec. 31, from 2-4 p.m. at the hotel.

The Princess Royale will also offer a number of activities including carnival games, girls dressed as mermaids in the heated pool, Sherman the Shorebird mascot, live entertainment, a selfie station and face painting. Ice carving will take place on the beach as well.

In 2018, more than 420 swimmers participated, raising $98,000 for the hospital. There were also 50 sponsors, Stokes said.

“In total, the event has grossed nearly $1.4 million since 1995,” Stokes said. “Funds raised are used to support AGH’s strategic initiatives and mission-driven community-based programs and services.”

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More than 400 people run into frigid waters on New Year’s Day for the 24th annual AGH Penguin Swim on 94th Street in front of the Princess Royale.

Swimmers will also have other incentives and each registered participant will receive an official 2019 Penguin Swim T-shirt.

Penguins who raise anywhere from $50-$99 have the choice of a Penguin Swim plush hat or stainless-steel thermal water bottle while those who collect $100-$249 will take home an official Penguin Swim long-sleeve T-shirt or sweatshirt. Swimmers who collect $250-$499 will be given a Penguin Swim beach towel, and anyone raising $500 or more will be able to choose one prize from each level, Stokes said.

The top-three donors from each category, which includes individuals and adults, teams, businesses, community groups, youth and family and 18 and under, will be awarded trophies and prizes. There will be costume contest prizes awarded and special recognition will be given to the oldest and youngest penguins.

Before swimmers take the plunge, the Bull on the Beach team will parade down the beach in honor of being “the Emperor Penguin” and a legacy sponsor who has participated for 25 consecutive years. The parade will begin at 12:45 p.m.

“It’s a great event that brings together our community and visitors to have fun doing something a little silly and unique, as well as help one of the most important assets in our community,” Stokes said. “It’s a fun family event that has become an annual tradition for many participants and spectators. It’s [also] a great way to ring in the new year while supporting Atlantic General Hospital.”

Organizers are always looking for sponsors and checks can be made out to the AGH Foundation and mailed to: 9733 Healthway Drive Berlin, Maryland 21811.

For more information on event sponsorship opportunities, call 410-641-9671 or email jstokes@atlanticgeneral.org.

To sign up for the 25th annual Penguin Swim or to make a donation, visit aghpenguinswim.org or text PENGUIN to 51555. The event can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/penguinswim or call the hospital foundation office with questions at 410-641-9671.

Proceeds from the event support strategic plans started by Atlantic General Hospital and back its mission to improve individual and community health.

“The Penguin Swim is one of our largest fundraisers in support of Atlantic General Hospital’s mission to create a coordinated care delivery system that will provide access to quality care, personalized service and education to improve individual and community health,” Stokes said.

The hospital has been providing health care to residents of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties in Maryland as well as Sussex County, Delaware, since May 1993. Since its inception, the Penguin Swim has raised more than $1 million for the hospital.

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