We're not saying that the Venice Penguin Swim has anything in common with other cult activities. Nooooooooo. Let's just say the organizers are quite enthusiastic about new recruits. The event is a tradition celebrating its 50th birthday. Last year, 80 participants gathered shivering in their bathing suits on the sand on New Year's Day, and then everybody ran madly into the frigid water. This year, they hope for even more freezing newbies. Of course, as with any cult, there is plenty of enticement. “There will be a Penguin King and Queen chosen from the amateur fun lovers, and a Penguin Prince and Princess who will qualify by winning the competitive race.” What they don't mention is that dunking yourself in icy water is a great remedy for a hangover. Venice Beach Breakwater in Venice, at the foot of Windward Ave.

Fri., Jan. 1, 11 a.m., 2010

LA Weekly