Festive bridge run tradition continues to bring out characters

      Photo from 2011 Bridge Run (Courtesy: IKON)

      By Justin

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- While many Cooper River Bridge runners will be sporting athletic wear on Saturday, others will opting for some crazy costumes.

      Each year, a number of bridge run participants decide to attract some extra attention by dressing up in different outfits including favorite cartoon characters, a ballerina, or even a gorilla.

      "People just catch more attention in some kind of crazy costume ... they like that five minutes of fame," said Giles Taylor.

      Taylor has been the owner of Charleston's Hokus Pokus costume shop for the past 32 years.

      He says there are hundreds of costumes to choose from, but there are down sides to some of the more elaborate outfits.

      "Chickens, gorillas, bears the problem with those costumes is that it is very hot, and that is a long way to run in a hot costume," Taylor said.

      For someone looking for a unique costume, he recommends Morphsuits, which are spandex body suits that completely cover you.

      Bridge run officials are not exactly sure where the tradition of wearing costumes to the race started, but they are working to help the tradition grow.

      Cooper River Bridge Run Assistant Director, Joanna Jackson says last year was the first ever bridge run costume contest put on by IKON.{}This year she says the judges will be looking for the best theme, originality and personality of the costume contestant(s).

      "I'd say there is always that group of funny people, who do it as a joke, and it quickly catches on," Jackson said. "Or they saw it in another race, and decided to do it themselves."

      While Jackson says they don't have any rules about bridge run costumes, she does ask that runners and walkers not wear anything inappropriate, since it is a family race.

      Taylor says events like the bridge run and polar bear plunge always attract people to his shop to buy wild costumes. He urges anyone who has their heart set on a certain costume to come out early, that way he has time to make sure you find what you are looking for.