Turkey plunge goes virtual: Library annual fundraiser moves online

The traditional post-Thanksgiving splash by costumed Islanders into the frigid water off Crescent Beach will not be in-person this year, to avoid contagion risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, according to organizer Andrew Ward, the Friends of the Shelter Island Public Library have created a GoFundMe page. “It is very sad for us as it is our biggest fundraiser,” he said. “Please help us try to raise at least a little money so we can continue helping fund all the worthwhile projects at the library.”

The event typically draws crowds of “turkeys,” “sharks,” “mermaids” and other creative costumes barely warding off the November cold. The brave souls who plunge are treated to hot cider and chili as they flirt with hypothermia.

This year, participants are encouraged to take the plunge individually and send in a photo for posting on the Friends Facebook page. Post your photo on your own Instagram or other social media with the #shelterislandfriendsofthelibrary.

And send to the Reporter: [email protected]

To participate in the Turkey Plunge please make a minimum donation of $25 by mail to:

Friends of the Shelter Island Library

Attn: Treasurer

P.O. Box 2016

Shelter Island, N.Y. 11964

Donors can support the “plunge” through GoFundMe and access more information through the Friends of the Shelter Island Library Facebook page. To contribute directly, checks can be sent to the mailing address above.

For more information about the Friends nonprofit, which supplements the library budget to support programs, supplies and major projects, visit